Jesse Helms’s forthcoming memoir, Here’s Where I Stand, is scheduled to be published this fall by Random House. The News & Observer’s Rob Christensen had a preview in Friday’s paper. Christensen included several quotes from Helms’s television editorials. Longtime North Carolinians will remember that Helms first came to the public’s attention when he delivered the nightly editorial, entitled “Viewpoint,” on WRAL-TV in Raleigh. His editorials were often picked up and re-run througout the state on the Tobacco Radio Network. Helms appeared regularly on the station from 1960 until 1972, when he left to run for the Senate.
The North Carolina Collection has a full set of transcripts of the “Viewpoint” editorials. These are continually one of our most popular resources, with students and faculty using them to trace the development of Helms’s political philosophies, and to study his growing influence in North Carolina and national politics. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any way to view the editorials as they were originally televised. We asked WRAL several years ago and they said that they never kept copies of the editorials. In the days when broadcasts were filmed, it was simply too expensive to keep archival copies of everything, and they were recorded over.