Lazio told his friends the Ehrlichs that voting for Obama will send America "down the road of southern Europe ... where you have more and more support systems for people who don't work."
And that, my friends, is as a hardcore a GOP talking point as you can find these days.
The last segment, which the Ehrlichs dubbed a "round-table discussion" featured the couple with State Delegate Tony O'Donnell, sitting in front of a little round glass table that looked to be about 18 inches high and large enough to put maybe three cups of a coffee and a notebook on. Excuse me again. You add one person to the Ehrlichs and you've got a round table?
I'll spare you the details of this conversation, but what seriously troubled me is the fact that WMAR used the station's "abc2" logo for the backdrop behind the Ehrlichs on this segment.
Last week, Bill Hooper, general manager at WMAR, stressed in an phone interview with me that the station had nothing to do with producing the show -- that the Ehrlichs were buying time as an independent advertiser like anyone else might. (On-air, Kendel Ehrlich identified Donahoo Collison, a Baltimore automobile repair operation, as the primary sponsor of the show.)
But visually, viewers see no separation between the station and the couple when they are shown in front of the station's logo. The visual language of the medium is more powerful than any disclaimer sounded 25 minutes earlier at the start of the show.
Putting that logo behind these ideologues is a mistake that has the potential to seriously damage the station's credibility as a provider of non-partisan news and information. As much as every dollar counts these days to stations like WMAR, I don't think there is anyone who would say the small-potato rates charged for Sunday morning local TV are worth risking your station's credibility.
And I wonder how the folks at ABC, particularly ABC News, are going to feel when they see their brand compromised this way.
Last week, when I heard the Ehrlichs were baaaaaaaaack, I thought it couldn't be worse than most infomercials.
I was wrong.