“A disturbing snapshot of an angry America. Evil.” This is how the obscure news website Inter Reviewed describes us.
What? Who, us?
Famous newsman Ted Koppel’s visit to Granite City in June last year in search of Mayberry still resonates. Lately, it has taken an ugly turn.
The Washington Post newspaper is trying to kick off a storm with a year-end last week of the controversial CBS TV news report “Mayberry Comes To Life”, complete with reflections now from Koppel, inspiration and many years of anchor of the old, groundbreaking Nightline TV news program late at night.
“People loved it or hated it,” Koppel told the Post about his report on Mount Airy.
The post did not go so far as to call us here in the hometown evil. The newspaper simply called us “a disturbing snapshot.” So what is so “disturbing” about us?
Let’s go back to the CBS TV show “Sunday Morning.” Its 13-minute news report, sent on September 19, began harmlessly enough. “The good old days?” overturned host Jane Pauley on “The Andy Griffith Show,” broadly as a reflection of Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy. “When life was simpler, more neighborhood, civilized,” Pauley said.
Next, Koppel strolled South Main Street with the chamber president opposite the Mayberry Courthouse and Jail and Wally’s Service Station tourist sites, where the Mayberry team car rides are based. The two explained the economy by promoting Mount Airy tourism by drawing on the Mayberry mystery. Couple chuckled by sounding the siren in a replica squad car.
Then, before she died in October, Griffith actress Betty Lynn was shown signing autographs for Andy Griffith Museum visitors. In the Mayberry Courthouse, an adoring little boy from Ohio watches the show four hours a day, and his mother hurried after Koppel. Snappy Lunch patrons from Louisiana said they came all this way for a pork chop sandwich.
So far so good. The story had the elements of what Posten called “a seemingly puff piece”, newspaper language for a feel-good, happy story, a contrast to all the gloom and doom that so often comes from newspapers.
But at 4:35 inside the report, things started to swing raw. Politics, as Koppel would call it, began to suck the air out of the breather.
“A godless society” today stands in stark contrast to the higher moral values displayed in the 1960s Griffith show, an unnamed patron in the queue told Snappy Lunch Koppel.
The TV show then took off on that theme.
Next, an African-American family described times of separation. They had to take their restaurant food (restaurant unnamed) outside, they told Koppel. “Blacks knew where they belonged,” said one of Koppel.
An American flag with a picture of Donald Trump and the caption “Making America Great Again!” was shown waving in the wind.
The climax came on a trolley car ride. Not shown are the highlights of Mount Airy, the cozy neighborhoods, the energetic schools, the fine hospital or the diligent workers. Koppel asked riders – including a Barney Fife impersonator along with former Surry County Commissioner Gary York – riders interested in seeing the city about the 2020 election and the storm of the US capital a year ago instead of .
“I know you came here to have fun,” Koppel told the group from the front of the rolling cart, red-light TV camera by his side, “and not to talk politics.” Koppel then continued to talk politics.
The answer? Disturbing? Disturbing? Angry? Evil? You can even look at https://rayscountryham.com/mayberry on the internet.
Do not have time for that? OK, let me answer: Not a bit. The people of Mount Airy spoke honestly, calmly, politely and honestly about politics when asked.
“We don’t even watch the news on TV anymore,” an unnamed rider ironically told Koppel. “We do not feel that we are being told the truth. “We are trying to be influenced in a direction that we know is not the right direction.”
In the most touching moment of the report, another rider told Koppel: “I just hope that when this is broadcast, it will not show southerners like a bunch of stupid idiots.… We have a lot of love in our hearts. We love our country We love our fellow human beings. “
Koppel told Posten, “it really has never been the intention.”
But some make his report just that. Listed as the No. 1 most-read article on the Washington Post’s website, the story had a Post headline online: “They believe in Mayberry, but suggest January 6 was staged.”
Koppel denied to the Post that his report was a “hit job” on Mount Airy. But he admitted that “some residents of Mount Airy and viewers in southern states took up the issue.”
What did all this have to do with a TV retrospective of the Griffith show? Nothing. But then the CBS report was never really about the Griffith show, Mayberry or Mount Airy. That is what should be so disturbing and unsettling.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road. For more information on Stephen, visit https://www.facebook.com/AllRoadsShouldLeadToStateRoad?ref=hl