White Noise: News from inside the media bubble
One mother of a show
Did you know that Winston-Salem native, “Triad Today” host and YES! Weekly columnist Jim Longworth is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the body responsible for the Emmy Awards? Well, now you do! You can watch him do his thing on a live internet webcast of “A Mother’s Day Salute to TV Moms,” a panel discussion featuring bastions of televised motherhood like Meredith Baxter (“Family,” “Family Ties”), Barbara Billingsley (“Leave it to Beaver”), Diahann Carroll (“Julia,” “The Diahann Carroll Show,” “A Different World,” “Gray’s Anatomy”), Bonnie Franklin (“One Day at a Time”), Vicki Lawrence (“The Carol Burnett Show,” “Mama’s Family”), Cloris Leachman (“Lassie,” “Phyllis,” “The Facts of Life”) and Marion Ross (“Happy Days”). Together they’ll explore the role of the TV mom and her place in the larger culture. You can watch it live from Hollywood at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre if you have a high-speed internet connection. Use the academy’s website, emmys.tv, click on the tile and settle in to have all your childhood Oedipal crushes reignited.
Men receiving calls from Women’s Voices
In late April, reports surfaced about North Carolina residents receiving recorded phone calls from someone with a stentorian, black-sounding voice identifying himself as “Lamont Williams,” informing them: “In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is fill it out, sign it, date and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return your registration when it arrives.” The only problem is that voter registration in North Carolina ended on April 11. The Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, with which this writer holds a professional affiliation, identified the organization behind the calls as Women’s Voices Women Voting, a Washington-based outfit whose stated mission is to encourage unmarried women to register. The voting-rights group Democracy North Carolina stated in an April 28 press release that the calls had been reported in black neighborhoods. Among those said to have received the calls was the Rev. Nelson Johnson, an African-American pastor in Greensboro who has played a leadership role in numerous labor and racial justice campaigns over the past three decades. One of the most prominent recipients is Kevin Farmer, reportedly a white male, who chairs the Durham County Democratic Party. In a statement published by the Institute, Farmer writes: “The bakery where I work is in downtown Durham, in voting precinct #17, a low registration/high population (if you correlate voter registration w/ Census data) district that looks like a hotspot for voter registration, going strictly by the numbers. The Obama campaign targeted this area with a robo-call that emphasized same-day registration/early vote. It was clear, concise, and contained all the necessary contact information. The follow-up call from WVWV was anything but, and in my opinion, was designed for one purpose and one purpose alone: to sow confusion and suppress the vote.”
By the time this tidbit hits the newsprint, North Carolina’s 2008 Democratic primary will be sealed in the history books. It’s hard to comprehend right now, with my e-mail inbox glutted with messages from the presidential campaign. They’ve been coming fast and furious in the last week, and I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. The election has spawned some stellar political reporting, too, particularly the piece on race and politics that ran in last weekend’s News & Observer. Of course, the N&O knows the primary date, which is more than can be said of the Winston-Salem Journal, which misprinted the primary date as May 13 on its Sunday website.