Posts tagged WGBH

Remove David Koch from the Board of Trustees at WGBH

Did you know that David Koch, who along with his brother Charles has spent millions on climate change denial, currently sits on the Board of Trustees at Boston’s PBS affiliate, WGBH?

It’s hard to believe, but the nation’s biggest financial backer of right-wing causes helps oversee the station that brings us educational classics like Frontline and NOVA. Until earlier this year, Koch was also on the board of New York’s PBS affiliate, WNET, but he resigned after a New Yorker exposé uncovered the embarrassing revelation that WNET staff refused to air a documentary critical of the Koch brothers, fearing that doing so would jeopardize a major planned contribution from David Koch.

The WNET episode was a disturbing example of how even the presence of someone like Koch can lead to dangerous self-censorship in our public television stations. We have no idea if the same kind of self-censorship is happening at WGBH. The station insists that there are strong firewalls to prevent that sort of thing from happening. Until recently, so did WNET.

But behind the very real possibility that Koch’s presence affects WGBH’s content is an even larger question for WGBH and its members: Why should it be acceptable for a radical climate-denier like David Koch to be on the board of a well-respected institution like WGBH, which is dedicated to educating the public?

The answer is simple: it shouldn’t be acceptable.

The world is already feeling the painful impacts of climate disasters like Superstorm Sandy and this summer’s wildfires. It’s time for important societal institutions like WGBH to draw a line and say that lying to the American public about the reality of climate change is unacceptable, and we will not be associated with it.

The New Yorker piece and Koch’s resignation from the WNET board have created a major opening to reconsider the relationship between public institutions and climate deniers like Koch. That’s why Forecast the Facts members are seizing this opening and mobilizing to get Koch off WGBH’s board. The first step is to gather as many petition signatures as possible to deliver to the full Board of Trustees at their October 9th meeting.

(via Photo: Mitt Romney Breaking Ground at Public Broadcasting Station, 2005 | Mother Jones)Maybe he kept the shovel so he could bury Jim Lehrer and Big Bird with it after switching positions.

Maybe he kept the shovel so he could bury Jim Lehrer and Big Bird with it after switching positions.

Something’s missing from this Frontline report—-maybe like half the program? It seems to me that when it was scheduled to run in February, it was not relegated to being part of a double bill within the same hour. The original episode was the only one advertised on the website for that week, and then it was pre-empted by a rerun and pulled just before it was due to go on the air—“because the report wasn’t complete.” I’d like to know what wasn’t complete about it that later became complete and resulted in half a show?

Sorry, but it feels to me as if something important was removed. It lacks a certain convincing quality that is the hallmark of Frontline programs. I noticed some of the more indicting parts of the written version of the report on ProPublica’s website were not included,for example, Steve Jobs being asked by AT&T for a little more time to get the 3G network up, and his ignoring it and looking into changing carriers instead. Or that AT&T (Apple’s carrier) had 15 deaths as compared to the other major carriers who had something like 5, 2 and 1 respectively. Something vague was mentioned, but I don’t recall hearing those statistics.

The show had the look of having been combed by some economic interest, or some cautious legal department, in advance. I guess the second story was supposed to leave you with the sense of outrage that the first one somewhat waffled on.

Forgive me if I’m wrong. I really thought the tower climbers deserved more.
A comment from Cell Tower Deaths | FRONTLINE | PBS. Was something redacted from this version that aired?