WGBH = We’ve Got Bad Habits (Koch Bros. Edition)

February 8, 2014

 

For several months an environmental advocacy outfit called Forecast the Facts has been protesting the presence of conservative billionaire David Koch on WGBH’s board of trustees. There was a flurry of coverage last October, the highlight of which was this contribution from the feisty local tabloid:

 

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Now comes a new skirmish, according to today’s Herald.

Koch foes say ’GBH gave them wrong meeting date

Environmental protesters planning to picket the WGBH board of trustees this week accused the station of slipping them bad David Kochinformation about the date of the meeting — but the PBS affiliate denied it was a secret plot to thwart their campaign.

“Oh, heavens no,” said Channel 2 spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins. “Of course not. We welcome all comers. We’re open to all.”

 

Uh-huh.

(Full disclosure: The hardreading staff used to toil at the World’s Greatest Broadcast House, but we drifted.)

The protesters say the station forecast the meeting for Thursday but held it on Wednesday. Hopkins told the Herald “the station has no record of giving them the wrong date.” And tossed in this priceless endnote:

“We feel bad,” she said, adding, however, that “one person with a very nice flier” did show up Thursday to protest.

 

See? All it takes is a nice flier.

 


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 4 (Part 2)

October 11, 2013

The hardreading staff didn’t know the half of it in its earlier post this morning. Also in today’s Boston Herald, a handful of other shoutouts in the WGBH/David Koch rumpus.

Working our way through the opinion pages from left to right, start with this editorial:

Going cuckoo on Koch

Perhaps we should be accustomed to the lunatic fringe making comparisons between conservatives and, say, the Ku Klux Klan. We confess it’s a bit surprising when a man of the cloth engages in the odious practice, but hey, when it comes to protecting Mother Earth all bets are off!

 

Segue smoothly to Jerry Holbert’s editorial cartoon:

 

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Toss in a couple of Letters to the Editor:

Opposing views silenced

Just because protesters disagree with David Koch is no reason to shut him down and have him removed from the WGBH board (“Tough climate as WGBH faces protest over board member,” Oct. 10). That’s even if protesters do think they are scientifically correct about climate change, despite the fact that the issue is still being debated and researched and there is no unanimity on it in the scientific community.

A protester is quoted as saying of Koch, “His presence is extremely offensive. People who are actively fighting to destroy the climate should not have equal political voice.” The whole point of free speech in a democracy is so all sides may be heard.

I even support the protesters’ right to make statements that I believe are strident, hysterical and inaccurate. But to be “offended” by someone’s “presence” just because they disagree with you and to demand that their rights be abrogated is a far greater offense.

— Jeffrey Miner, Belmont

 

Raise the heat on Koch

There is profound irony in the use of the word “heat” in your headline about the grassroots movement to encourage WGBH to sever ties with pollution powerbroker David Koch (“Activists put heat on WGBH to oust donor, board giant,” Oct. 3). Thanks to Koch’s relentless assault on regulations to combat heat-trapping carbon emissions, we are on the verge of a climate cliff far more hazardous than any economic “fiscal cliff.”

Just as Boston will be underwater if we don’t get serious about reducing emissions, WGBH’s credibility will be underwater if the station doesn’t wash its hands of a man whose actions and statements on science contradict the station’s mission of educating and informing the public.

— D. R. Tucker, Brockton

 

And finish off Kochapalooza with a Michael Graham column:

Koch’s cash trash to libs

David Koch has a lot to learn about tolerance and diversity.

Koch, as every Occupod knows, is one of the infamous Koch Brothers (pronounced “coke,” as in “short for cocaine,’’ as in “white things that kill people!”). The Kochs are, well, they’re just the most dangerous, hateful and awful people in America. They regularly (and hatefully) give away millions of dollars to hospitals, universities, think tanks and, yes, public television.David Koch

Specifically, David Koch has given $18 million to support the science show “NOVA” and he sits on the WGBH board.

Liberals are demanding that he be thrown off the board over his political views.

In the name of tolerance and diversity, of course.

 

And just think: We still have the hardworking staff at Campaign Outsider’s Beat the Press Party Bakeoff to look forward to.

 

 

 


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 4

October 11, 2013

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, the Boston Herald is on the WGBH/David Koch rumpus like Brown on Williamson.

Today’s installment:

Protesters say fight not over as WGBH brass stand by David Koch

Environmental activists say they have not yet begun to fight against WGBH, after the public TV station’s brass yesterday said they “appreciated” the protesters’ concerns about trustee David Koch, but they have no intention of booting the conservative lightning rod David Kochbillionaire donor.

“Just as our viewers and listeners reflect a full spectrum of political and cultural views, so do our board members,” WGBH spokesman Michael Raia said in a statement yesterday to the Herald.

“While the Board appreciated hearing the perspective of those who attended the meeting, they plan to make no changes.”

 

The protestors – all 50 of them – say they “plan to lobby the board’s 31 other trustees individually and ‘get them on the record on how they feel.’”

And some protestors will withhold donations to WGBH.  Brad Johnson of Forecast the Facts, “the group that helped gather 119,000 signatures calling for Koch’s ouster, citing his stance on global warming,” said the protestors “don’t want to be in a position where they’re supporting David Koch, and lending their legitimacy to his work.”

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe still isn’t covering the protest. Ditto for WGBH News.

Long live the feisty local tabloid!

 


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 3

October 10, 2013

The Boston Herald has been on the WGBH/David Koch rumpus like Brown on Williamson, but today they’ve really outdone themselves.

Start with Page One.

 

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The inside story (print headline):

Tough climate as WGBH faces protest over board member over conservative David Koch

WGBH board bigwigs were squirming yesterday as David Koch, one of the station’s biggest benefactors, was ripped by environmental activists — including one dressed as David KochElmo — who decried the conservative billionaire as a “climate 
denier” and demanded his resignation from the panel.

“This board would not tolerate a Ku Klux Klansman,” the Rev. Fred Small, a WGBH member and 
senior minister at First Parish Cambridge, told the trustees of the PBS flagship station. “It would not toler-
ate a notorious racist or 
anti-Semite. Yet you tolerate a man who has spent millions subverting democracy and disseminating lies about climate change in order to protect the profits from his own polluting industries.”

 

According to the Herald, WGBH board chairman “Amos Hostetter defended Koch, telling the protesters there’s no ‘political litmus test’ for board members. ” But, at least today, there is a Howie Carr test:

HOLY WAR FOR P.C. CRUSADERS

First of all, let’s call this WGBH-David Koch brouhaha what it really is.XSTU6785.JPG

It’s not a political fight, it’s a religious war.

Koch has blasphemed the Church of Climate Change, formerly known as the Church of Global Warming, except the P.C. shamans had to change the name 
because they couldn’t “hide the decline” in worldwide temperatures, to use a 
famous phrase from one of their prophets.

To those moonbats who were out on Guest Street yesterday — including the one dressed in an Elmo costume — David Koch is not a political foe, he’s an apostate, a heretic.

So they have declared a fatwah against him.

 

It gets more, well, inflammatory from there.

Crosstown the Boston Globe had no news coverage of the protest, but columnist Joan Vennochi did weigh in on The two David Kochs.

THIS IS a tale of two Kochs — the one who weeps for lab researchers in need of day care, but not for Americans in need of health care.181700483

David Koch, the philanthropist, was so moved by the pleas of MIT lab workers who said they needed day care that he ponied up $20 million for a child-care center at MIT.

Then, there is also the David Koch who, with brother Charles, helped to bankroll what President Obama described as a “cynical ad campaign” to discourage Americans from signing up for Obamacare. “These are billionaires several times over” said Obama, in what was reported to be a presidential reference to the politically active, conservative siblings and their effort to derail the Affordable Care Act.

 

He is also “the current target of environmental activists, who want WGBH to kick him off its board because of his climate change views,” Vennochi writes. “Koch helps fund Nova, the acclaimed PBS science show — but, according to the activists, has also worked to defund PBS.”

Sounds like double trouble to us.

 


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 2

October 5, 2013

The Kochheads are here! Defenders of conservative billionaire David Koch are going after the liberal activists going after Koch for giving a reported $18.6 to local public broadcaster WGBH over the past three decades.

From today’s Boston Herald:

David KochKoch foes blasted for ‘politicizing’ public TV

Environmentalists seeking to oust conservative billionaire David Koch from WGBH’s 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, he’s supporting NOVA,” Lichter added of the PBS science program. “If you can get a climate change skeptic to give money to NOVA, I wouldn’t try to change that . . .

 

The environmental activists have gathered 70,000 signatures that they’ll try to present to WGBH trustees on Wednesday. One PBS critic, despite wanting to defund public broadcasting, calls the protest “political bullying.”

WGBH is essentially ignoring the protesters.

WGBH officials and Koch’s reps have brushed off charges that he wields influence in program decision-making. His company said he’s 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.

 

Also ignoring the protesters: The Boston Globe.  Our stately local broadsheet has yet to mention the Koch rumpus, although the Globeniks will undoubtedly cover any protest next week.

Can you say Things Go Bitter with Koch?

I knew you could.

 


Herald: WGBH Goes Better Without Koch

October 4, 2013

The Boston Herald scoops its crosstown rival with this story in today’s edition:

David KochActivists put heat on ‘GBH to oust donor, board giant

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. “That’s completely incompatible with an organization like WGBH, which is dedicated to public education.”

 

Koch represents the ATM wing of the Republican party, pouring megamillions into groups such as Americans for Prosperity and Generation Opportunity (both of which are major players in the Obamacare ad war). He’s also poured big bucks into WGBH according to the Herald. (Full disclosure: The hardreading staff used to work at the World’s Greatest Broadcast House, but we drifted.)

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. He’s also one of the station’s 32 trustees.

 

An untrusted trustee, according to the activists: “His steady, heavy contributions could cause WGBH to commit acts of ‘journalistic self-censorship’ and influence programming, [their] petition claims.” (Forecast the Facts petition here; MoveOn.org petition here.)

Two things to watch: Will the Boston Globe hitchhike coverage on the Herald report, and will WGBH News cover it as well?

Stay tuned . . .

 


Boston Herald a Suffolk University Satellite Campus

May 24, 2013

There’s some serious co-branding going on at the Boston Herald these days, where the Suffolk University logo is on the feisty local tabloid like Howie Carr on a Bay State solon.

For starters, there’s the Suffolk connection to the Herald’s weekly Press Party webcast, the underdog half of the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight with WGBH’s Beat the Press. Here’s the ad from today’s paper:

 

Picture 11

 

And here’s how the webcast’s background looks:

 

Picture 7

 

Suffolk even gets part of the bug for video packages:

 

Picture 9

 

In the Herald itself, Suffolk’s VP of Whatever John Nucci now seems to have his own column:

 

Picture 14

 

But there’s no tag or ID for Nucci, just the Suffolk logo.

Wait – there’s more. Nucci also turns up in Press Party packages, just to round things out.

 

Picture 6

 

The Nucci column, it turns out, is part of this initiative, which the Herald announced a couple of weeks ago.

raceformayorHerald, Suffolk U. set to give voters a lesson in city politics

Suffolk University and the Boston Herald are joining forces to provide the most comprehensive multimedia coverage anywhere on this year’s milestone race for mayor of Boston.

The university, which already teams with the Herald on the weekly “Press Party” media analysis Web show, brings to the table an array of important tools for voters who want cutting-edge coverage of the mayoral battle.

 

Those tools includes polling and blogs and Nucci and stuff. So that’s a lesson in something.

But . . . is it just us, or is this a bit much, considering that the Herald is supposed to be sort of covering Suffolk University?

Not to get technical about it.


Our ‘Beat the Press Party’ Bakeoff (Spotlight the Globe Edition)

April 6, 2013

It’s time once again to review the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight, especially the rumpus over the Boston Globe’s Spotlight report, Driven to the Edge.

Start as usual with the underdog Boston Herald, which has been hounding its crosstown rival all week over the Globe’s three-part taxidermy of the Boston cab industry.

The Herald’s Press Party segment is here.

Highlights.

The set-up piece accused the Globe of deception and essentially declared reporters should never go undercover, a position host Joe Battenfeld persistently pursued.

And a position Suffolk University’s Bob Rosenthal seconded, asserting that the Globe did a good job but committed an ethical violation because the paper could have gotten the story otherwise – which is nonsense.

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson and State Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, to their credit, countered that the Globe could not have gotten the story without going undercover.

Over at the Big Dog, WGBH’s Beat the Press (hosted by Emily Rooney), the conversation went this way:

Host Emily Rooney said sometimes the end justifies the means.

The panelists generally praised the Globe story, asserted that you need to cross your T’s and dot your I’s in these situations, and said the Herald was just being the Herald.

Who’s Top Dog?

You tell us.

Originally posted at Campaign Outsider.


Hark! The Herald! (‘Party’ Pooper Edition)

April 5, 2013

From our Walt Whitman desk

Yesterday our feisty local tabloid celebrated itself and sang its Press Party with a full-page ad.

 

Picture 3

 

Got that – always smart, no-holds-barred discussions from fresh faces with their news noses on the ground and their fingertips on the pulse of the media machine?

Two observations: 1) That has to be painful; and 2) Could this be any more baldly aimed at WGBH’s Beat the Press?

Regardless, to promote tonight’s version of Press Party, the Herald coughs up not a full-page ad but a lousy quarter-page of  - what to call it? – promotorial.

 

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Pikers.

Just in case you’re curious about the promotorial content:

 

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Coming up tonight: Our next installment of the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight.  Ask for it by name.

 


Globe Can’t Keep Cab Story Straight

April 5, 2013

The Boston Globe newsroom might want to call a cab-inet meeting sometime soon, because it’s sending mixed messages about the paper’s three-part takeout on the Boston taxicab industry.

Start with reporter Bob Hohler, who spent eight nights driving for Boston Cab last fall, which he chronicles in the final piece of the series. In this interview posted on the Globe website, Hohler describes how he conducted his investigation.

Q: Did anyone know you were a Boston Globe reporter? How did you handle disclosure?

A: I drove for Boston Cab for eight nights and never got the sense that anybody there knew that I was a reporter. When I applied there I said I worked for the NYT Company  . . .  the New York Times owns the Globe. As for my occupation I said sports because I’m a sportswriter.

Q. But if they had said – I know the way it works – if they had said Are you a Boston Globe reporter you would say Yes I am. But no one asked you.

A. Absolutely. I would have told them that I’m here to try to get the experience, to try to learn.

 

Apparently the burden of disclosure was on Boston Cab.

So Hohler is guilty of a sin of omission, if one at all. Even so, that’s a time-honored journalistic practice in undercover investigations. When he was asked in the interview “what did becoming a taxi driver afford you accesswise that you wouldn’t get as a reporter,” Hohler replied, “Oh – everything.”

Globe editor Brian McGrory, though, sounded a much different note during Wednesday’s Jim and Margery show on WGBH radio.

Bob Hohler, a cab driver back in the 1970s, who brought this idea to us, went out, got his hackney license, drove a cab – unlike the way Margery’s paper [the Boston Herald] portrayed it, he was not masquerading as a cab driver, he was a cab driver, he got his license.

This was not an undercover operation. He went out and he immersed himself in that community and we did exactly what a newspaper is supposed to do. It was a major time investment, major financial investment, and it has gotten swift results.

 

Less  than a minute later, McGrory reiterated his position: “We never went undercover – let’s be clear about that. The word ‘undercover’ carries implications that just aren’t necessary here.”

But, all due respect, that certainly seem to fit.


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