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

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!

 


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 . . .