Her nurse described Stokes as “a giving and loving person,” yet she did not suffer fools gladly and for years was estranged from her only son. She believed in bridging political divides, but a stepdaughter characterized her as “dogmatic.” And in the words of director Matt Wolf she was both “reclusive” and an “activist,” which sounds like a contradiction in terms.
About one thing there is no dispute: Stokes (1929-2012) proved doggedly persistent, especially in the pursuit that came to dominate her life—keeping a close eye on the news media. For over 30 years she monitored television on an unprecedented scale, at the local level in Philadelphia where she lived and on the national level of broadcast and cable TV outlets.
“She recorded television 24 hours a day on multiple channels,