Audience Reacts To Hudson Murders, Non-Voters

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In this regular feature, listeners and bloggers react to the recent stories heard on the program. This week, hear feedback on actress Jennifer Hudson's family tragedy and what folks have to say about a group of men who are choosing to sit this election out. Plus, producer Lee Hill talks about TMM's special Election Night plans.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Now it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the Tell Me More blogosphere and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy, is here with me again. Welcome back, Lee. What do you know?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, good to be back on the blog. But not so good to come back to devastating news that singer and actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew have been murdered in Chicago. Now, police are still trying to put together the facts on why and how this all happened. Now, Michel, you remember, Jennifer Hudson was just here in the same studio a few weeks ago. She was talking to us about her new film, "The Secret Life of Bees." And we all just feel terrible about what happened. And we also know that Chicago's crime problem is serious. So far this year, the city's homicide rate is higher than New York and Los Angeles, much bigger cities.

MARTIN: That's so true.

HILL: Earlier this week, before the body of Hudson's nephew had been located, we talked about whether this disappearance might have gotten so much attention had it not been for Hudson's celebrity. We heard from listeners who felt that crime and violence in Chicago deserves much more attention than it's getting. Well, Brooke lives in Chicago and told us that some attention is long overdue.

BROOKE (Listener): Last year, 34 Chicago public-school students were murdered, and the national media would pay a lot more attention if those students had been rich and white. It's sad that it takes a celebrity connection for people to pay attention, but I hope that that attention does some good for Chicago's violence problem.

MARTIN: Thank you, Brooke. And once again, of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to Jennifer Hudson and her family. Now we're going to switch gears to talk about the presidential election. Just a few days to go, we talked to a group of folks who are choosing to sit this one out. Yes, Warren Higgins, Tony Nam and Bryan Shelton told us they are choosing not to vote in this election even though they are eligible to do so. Why? Well, they told us they had issues with both the Democratic and Republican candidates. Peter in Detroit just wasn't buying it.

PETER (Listener): They were too lazy to do anything about a system about which they said were clear and obvious flaws. They were too lazy even to run for office and effect the changes that they - because they were smarter than everybody else - knew needed to be made. That all comes down to you were willing to sit it out and watch because you thought there was something wrong rather than do what you know is necessary. That just comes down to being lazy.

MARTIN: Whoa. Tell us how you really feel.

HILL: Thanks, Peter. And if you missed the conversation that has Peter so worked up, you can find it on our website.

MARTIN: And Lee, I can safely assume, can I not, that you will be voting on Tuesday?

HILL: Ah, yes...

MARTIN: I don't have to call your parents, do I?

HILL: No, no, not at all. They would call me, trust me. I can confirm that, yes, I will be voting. And I can also confirm that Tell Me More will be bringing the goods on election night on Tuesday, November 4th. I will actively blog throughout the evening along with my colleague Douglas Hopper. We'll be planted at election-party hotspots here in the region. We'll blog about the returns as they come in, what we're seeing, what our audience is seeing, and the results. So you out there, come out and join us.

MARTIN: Election-party hotspots, hm, might there be beverages at these hotspots, Lee?

HILL: Just H2O.

MARTIN: Oh, OK. Well, we'll be checking to see whether the typing deteriorates as the evening wears on. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember, we also want to know your election-night plans. We want to hear from you. You can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. That number, again, is 202-842-3522. Or go to the Tell Me More page at npr.org and blog it out. And that's our program for today.

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