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:
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 information 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.”
(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.
October 4, 2013
The Boston Herald scoops its crosstown rival with this story in today’s edition:
Activists 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 . . .