While going through Dad’s old letters, I came across a mysterious envelope from the TV network CBS. Apparently, way back in 1981, when I was just 7 years old, the news program “60 Minutes” aired a segment called, “Life and Death in an Irish Town.” I found a clip of the segment online. This clip is the followup to the original piece which dates back to 1975.
Dad was extremely sensitive with how the media portrayed Northern Ireland Catholics, and apparently, he took umbrage at this high-profile piece of TV journalism. I assume nowadays, times have changed, and people who shoot off an email criticizing a segment get a canned email response in return. But back then, the Director of Audience Services actually took time to respond to Dad’s concerns, though she pointed out that his critical viewpoint placed him squarely in the minority.
I wish I had a copy of his original letter. Dad was a better writer than one might expect, considering he went to work in England at 16, and that’s when his formal education stopped. I believe he did take a few night school courses at a community college in L.A. once he was an adult.
Dad frequently sent off letters to the editor of our local newspapers, so finding this letter doesn’t surprise me, but it’s still an interesting piece to come across. I wonder if Dad was satisfied with the response.
I know he did continue to watch “60 Minutes” over the years.