Skip to comments.Activists put heat on ‘GBH to oust donor, board giant (conservative "misleads", climate change)
Posted on 10/03/2013 11:46:24 PM PDT by raccoonradio
Angry environmental activists say they have more than 70,000 signatures and plan to flood a WGBH trustees meeting next week calling for the ouster of conservative lightning-rod billionaire David Koch from the board but the public TV and radio station for now is standing by the longtime PBS mega-donor.
David Koch has essentially dedicated himself and tens of millions of dollars to deliberately mislead the public about climate change, claimed Emily Southard of environmental group Forecast the Facts. Thats completely incompatible with an organization like WGBH, which is dedicated to public education.
Koch, a prominent Mitt Romney fundraiser last year, has donated $18.6 million to WGBH since 1982 and $10 million specifically to the science program NOVA, according to Koch Companies spokeswoman Melissa Cohlmia. Hes also one of the stations 32 trustees.
His steady, heavy contributions could cause WGBH to commit acts of journalistic self-censorship and influence programming, the petition claims.
We want WGBH to be making decisions on how to best serve the public interest without having to deal with these conflicts of interest, said Brad Johnson of Forecast the Facts.
About 50 activists plan to picket the Brighton TV station next Wednesday and deliver the petition to the board of trustees in a five-minute presentation during their meeting, Southard said.
WGBH vice chairwoman Maureen Ruettger said, We will listen to it just like anything else. You have to listen to both sides.
WGBH spokesman Michael Raia dismissed the idea that Koch influences programming.
Absolutely not, agreed trustee Terrie F. Bloom. They are very, very careful about that sort of thing. Jason Talbot, who just ended a stint as co-chairman of WGBHs community advisory board, said, For me, personally, its business and, to me, funding is very difficult to come by. If I was to choose between taking funding from a guy like that and not having NOVA, I would prefer to have NOVA.
Kochs reps said he believes in an open, honest and science-based debate about climate change, and wont step down.
We can unequivocally state that David Koch has never interfered with or tried to influence WGBHs programming decisions, Cohlmia said. Further, he has no intention to resign from the board of WGBH.
Koch did resign earlier this year from the board at New Yorks PBS affiliate, WNET, which had run a critical documentary that partly focused on him, then took the unusual step of airing his rebuttal after the broadcast. Meanwhile, Johnson said the group will target individual trustees if next weeks meeting fails to get results, and encourage students to lobby professors who sit on the board.
Just ask yourself ...
Are you being served?
From Downton Abbey to FoxNews ... is anyone surprised?
What is WGBH?
Donal Fox: Koch brothers and their Tea Party cronies are behind a lot of the crap we have been experiencing in America recently -- try the government shut down for one and the gradual highjacking of our news media by the Koch brothers
their famous "sign on/off" with harpsichord (William Pierce pronounced "Massachusetts" the way Ted Kennedy did)
WGBH has "Taj Mahal" (i.e., fancy) studios with a big electronic sign that probably wastes a whole bunch of electricity. Some money via taxpayers. "We will always need...your help."
The Koch Bros. are not conservatives; they are Independents.
These running dogs and people at moveon.org are stupid and know nothing. They regurgitate force-fed propaganda.
That makes Koch a common DNC-supporting liberal impostor.
And he IS at WGBH, is he not?
I guess supporting Homo Rights...which the Koch Bros do...is not enough for the PBS Left
Thus the protestors are ultra-left I suppose. Too far left even for the garden variety WGBH trustee.
Environmentalists seeking to oust conservative billionaire David Koch from WGBHs board of trustees came under fire yesterday from media watchdogs who blasted the activists for politicizing public broadcasting.
If the shoe were on the other foot, I think you would have outrage in a lot of places, that someone is trying to throw somebody off a board over their personal politics, said Bob Lichter, president of the nonpartisan Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University.
My God, hes supporting NOVA, Lichter added of the PBS science program. If you can get a climate change skeptic to give money to NOVA, I wouldnt try to change that. ... I may disagree with his view on climate change, but the ones who are politicizing the issue are his opponents.
The environmental activists, buoyed by the 70,000-plus signatures they say theyve collected, plan to make their case to the 32 trustees of the PBS flagship station Wednesday. They are demanding that Koch be jettisoned from the board because they say his heavy contributions said to be $18.6 million since 1982 could lead WGBH to commit acts of journalistic self-censorship and influence scientific programming.
Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the conservative Media Research Center, slammed the activists demands as political bullying.
Theyre basically saying, Im sorry, conservatives shouldnt be on our board. This board is for progressives only. No conservatives need to apply, said Graham, a PBS critic who supports defunding public broadcasting. WGBH officials and Kochs reps have brushed off charges that he wields influence in program decision-making. His company said hes given $10 million to NOVA alone, and that he has no plans to step down in the face of the uproar around the Brighton studios.
Earlier this year, Koch resigned from the board of New Yorks PBS affiliate, WNET, after it ran a critical documentary partly aimed at him.
As for WGBHs defense that Koch has no influence on its shows, Graham of the Media Research Center said, I would say based on the programs Ive seen, I think theyre right about that. But as a conservative, why on earth is David Koch giving money to these people? If he thought his goal in his life is forwarding the Tea Party agenda, then put your money to something more productive than the Boston PBS affiliate. Conservatives could get mad at him for this.
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