Fun_People Archive
29 Jan
Brinkley at the helm

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 97 15:32:48 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: Brinkley at the helm

Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <>
Forwarded-by: Dave Del Torto <>

NBC's David Brinkley reported the unrest that followed the U.S. Supreme
Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, prompting an outcry from
southern whites. An NBC TV station manager hired an unknown reporter to
"answer Brinkley's lies." The reporter called Brinkley a "turncoatsoutherner
turned northern radical." Name this former reporter who now holds public

And now, drum roll, here comes the ANSWER:
[Not now, actually.  You'll have to be patient... -psl]

The subtitle of David Brinkley's 1996 memoir wryly sums up what it was like
to work as a broadcast reporter from the eras spanning FDR to Bill Clinton.
The book is called "David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political
Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2000 Weeks of News and Other
Stuff on Television, and 18 Years of Growing Up In North Carolina."

Brinkley describes what it was like covering the first phases of school
integration in the U.S. south-which was often violent:

"It fell to me to report it on the news every night.... Nothing could
satisfy some of the extreme and not so extreme elements in the South.  They,
like others before and since, did not want the news straight. They wanted
it slanted, but slanted their way...."

There was hate mail and even death threats, said Brinkley. He wrote, "The
manager of an affiliated station in North Carolina, calling me a traitor to
my home state... tried to get me off the air, but failed. Then he retaliated
in the only way open to him. He hired a reporter, previously unknown, deeply
unskilled and something of a rural tinhorn. He put him on his local station
each night immediately following my NBC news and gave him the assignment to
'answer Brinkley's lies.'"

Brinkley goes on: "He did his job so effectively he became an admired public
figure. Whereupon he chose to turn his new popularity to his own advantage
and run for the United States Senate. He ran. On the strength of his attacks
on me, he was elected. His name: Senator Jesse Helms, Republican, North

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