Wednesday, June 29, 2016

JESSE HELMS GIVES CAREER BOOST TO A YOUNG ADMIRER

JESSE HELMS GIVES CAREER BOOST TO A YOUNG ADMIRER
Tell you a little story. Back in the mid-60's my wife Durrene and I lived in Raleigh, where we welcomed Byron, our first son of three. I worked for the N.C. Farm Bureau, which interested me as much for its conservative philosophy as for its agricultural strengths. We both faithfully watched Jesse Helms and his editorials on WRAL-TV5. I began to note on PBS programming a penchant for showing elaborate Nazi propaganda, and I called Jesse at home to talk about it, suggesting that all the Third Reich stuff absorbed TV time that should be shared by a more current problem -- Communism. Since Jesse's influence extended into all the broadcast sphere, I asked if he would help cut down on the Nazi stuff and boost emphasis on the USSR lies and propaganda. Know what? He said, "I understand. I'll give this some thought." Although I can't claim that my call really influenced him, he was impressed, and soon afterward interviewed me for a position as his assistant. I was thrilled, and worked closely with my hero for the next sixteen years, during which time my distrust of the Communists grew exponentially. I was reminded of this today as I watched an AHC broadcast of the Nazi regime's expansion. My fuse had been lit, and I have expended much energy since then writing and producing programming designed to tone down the U.S. fascination for things Nazi, and elevating investment in programming to expose the threat of Communism. One of the most important results was a 2.5 hour program I was assigned to produce -- broadcast on Ted Turner's TBS network. It drew a nationwide audience, not only carrying our anti-Communist message, but also raising campaign funds for Helms' re-election. It was a success, and to this day I am proud of our work. The eventual result is that I was asked to play a key role in Jesse's successful 1982 re-election campaign for the U.S. Senate. Today, I am still interested in toning down the PBS emphasis on the Nazi years and moving toward programming about the current threat of Communism. We have had some impact, but not enough. It's an enduring goal for us, though I am now 79 and long since retired. I may be used but I'm not used up. I'll keep you posted.

June 29, 2016