By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Oct 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

If I worked in the newsroom at WTMJ-TV, I would be ashamed to show my face in public after the new stunt the station has created to get more viewers.

The ratings period starts Thursday and the station is going to give away an iPad every night of the ratings period. All you have to do is "like" the station's Facebook page and then watch the news at 10 when John Malan will announce the winner.

I don't care how they try to spin this. It's just as bad as the horror-filled greed of Oprah giving away hundreds of cars and as transparently absurd as Dr. Phil or Dr. Drew or Dr. Nancy or someone pretending to heal fake patients.

I was watching last night when Mike Jacobs, a guy who I respect, held up an iPad while announcing this contest. His hand moved gently around the iPad.

The next anchors at WTMJ will probably be Vanna White and one of those models on the 'The Price Is Right" who show off the prizes.

The only reason to do this is to lure more viewers to the station. I guess there's nothing wrong with that. I mean it's a business, right?

But it seems like car dealers who offer gifts for taking a test ride. "Try our car and get two tickets to the Dells, or breakfast for two at Denny's or a free tank of gas."

The problem is that the news shows are not cars. I think the reason someone ought to watch a particular news program is that the viewer has faith in the honesty and integrity of the station's news operation. The viewer believes that they are going to actually get some "news."

Generally speaking those days are long gone. The only station in town that even comes close to doing real news is Channel 12. Channel 6 comes close. But Channel 4 is the news leader, so that shows what I know.

I realize that I may be old fashioned here, but sometimes the old fashioned things were just fine. I think the crap we are generally fed on local news is a gigantic waste of our time.

I know and like a lot of people at Channel 4. The big boss, Steve Wexler, is a friend and a guy who I really like and respect. For me, though, this is a lot like having a close friend who still smokes cigarettes. You still love him but you want to slap him upside his head and say "have you any idea what the hell you are doing?"

Like I said, Channel 4, shame on you!

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.