PBS: Why I Watch But Don’t Contribute: Part Deux

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger

432px-PBS_1971_id.svgAbout a year ago I wrote a guest blog titled: PBS: Why I Watch But Don’t Contribute. In it I wrote about the history of PBS and of its’ seminal station WNET Channel 13 in New York. Through the years I’ve been privileged to watch some wonderful television on PBS from great plays to superb documentaries. Much of what PBS and channel 13 supplied to me was culture that was somewhat inaccessible from any other venue. What was so new and novel about the Public Television movement was that it was commercial free and so could greater explore subjects that were verboten in prime time commercial television. It also showed Americans the great programs being produced by the PBS analogue in Great Britain, the BBC. Far from being the “vast wasteland” of commercial TV described by JFK’s FCC head Newton Minnow, PBS showed what a wonderful medium television could be. At the core of this excellence was the fact that there were no sponsors to muzzle production values and dumb down the product.

Originally there was an organization called NET (National Education Television) which merged with New York’s Channel 13 in 1963. It had been operating under various names producing educational television programs that were distributed to various stations around the country. It had originally been funded via a grant from the Ford Foundation to produce educational programs. With the merger in 1963 the philosophy changed drastically in that the aim was to become America’s “Fourth TV Network”. When in 1966 the Ford Foundation began to withdraw funding the Federal Government stepped in.

“In 1966, NET’s viability came into question when the Ford Foundation decided to begin withdrawing financial support because of NET’s continual need for additional funding. In the meantime, the affiliated stations tried to keep the network alive by developing a reliable source of revenue.

The U.S. government intervened and created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in 1967 to fund the network for the time being. However, the CPB’s intent was to create its own public broadcasting network. The CPB embarked on that course of action because many NET affiliates were alienated by the programming that network offered. These affiliates further felt that NET’s simultaneous production and distribution of programming constituted a conflict of interest.

PBS first began operations in 1969, with NET still producing several shows. However, NET’s refusal to stop airing the critically praised but controversial documentaries led to the decision of both Ford and the CPB to shut the network down. In early 1970, both threatened to cut their funding unless NET merged its operations with Newark, New Jersey public station WNDT-TV. (This did not, however, end the production and distribution of hard-hitting documentaries on public television, since PBS itself continues to distribute and CPB continues to help fund series including Frontline, POV and Independent Lens to this day.)

On Monday, October 5, 1970, the exact day that PBS began broadcasting, NET and WNDT-TV officially completed their merger. NET ceased to operate as a separate network from that point, although some NET-branded programming, such as NET Journal, was part of the PBS schedule for another couple of years before the identity was finally retired. WNDT’s call sign was changed to the present WNET shortly thereafter. Some shows that began on NET, such as Sesame Street, continue to air on PBS today.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Educational_Television

When the government took over the formerly independent WNET the changes were at first unnoticed. However, as is the nature of bureaucracy the independence of content and programming began to be subject to political needs and as a medium, the product became diminished into what can only be seen as TV, that while on occasion is daring and revolutionary, is purposed to support and glorify the corporate state and the elite that runs it. Occasionally, really courageous insightful programs will slip by and air. This though is happening less frequently as outside pressures force self censorship on producers. What follows are current examples of why this is true.

My summers are spent in the mountains of New York State. Last Monday night I watched PBS Channel 13 from “Antiques Roadshow” at 8:00pm thru an “American Masters” detailing the life of Mel Brooks. What I saw was a surprise to me since not only were there the usual corporate intros to each show, but now there was a five minute string of what you would call actual TV commercials, though more tastefully done than one would see on regular TV. Even where I live in Florida, the PBS stations do not show regular, between show commercials. Here they were on my beloved NY Channel 13. When I read a New Yorker article the next day on a brewing programming scandal I felt a follow up blog on PBS was needed.

The New Yorker article was titled: “A Word From our Sponsor” and subtitled: “Public Television’s attempt to placate David Koch” by Jane Mayer.

“Last fall, Alex Gibney, a documentary filmmaker who won an Academy Award in 2008 for an exposé of torture at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, completed a film called “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream.” It was scheduled to air on PBS on November 12th. The movie had been produced independently, in part with support from the Gates Foundation. “Park Avenue” is a pointed exploration of the growing economic inequality in America and a meditation on the often self-justifying mind-set of “the one per cent.” As a narrative device, Gibney focuses on one of the most expensive apartment buildings in Manhattan—740 Park Avenue—portraying it as an emblem of concentrated wealth and contrasting the lives of its inhabitants with those of poor people living at the other end of Park Avenue, in the Bronx.   

Among the wealthiest residents of 740 Park is David Koch, the billionaire industrialist, who, with his brother Charles, owns Koch Industries, a huge energy-and-chemical conglomerate. The Koch brothers are known for their strongly conservative politics and for their efforts to finance a network of advocacy groups whose goal is to move the country to the right. David Koch is a major philanthropist, contributing to cultural and medical institutions that include Lincoln Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In the nineteen-eighties, he began expanding his charitable contributions to the media, donating twenty-three million dollars to public television over the years. In 1997, he began serving as a trustee of Boston’s public-broadcasting operation, WGBH, and in 2006 he joined the board of New York’s public-television outlet, WNET. Recent news reports have suggested that the Koch brothers are considering buying eight daily newspapers owned by the Tribune Company, one of the country’s largest media empires, raising concerns that its publications—which include the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times—might slant news coverage to serve the interests of their new owners, either through executive mandates or through self-censorship. Clarence Page, a liberal Tribune columnist, recently said that the Koch’s appeared intent on using a media company “as a vehicle for their political voice.”” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

We have had many blogs and discussions of the Koch Brothers here at Jonathan Turley’s blog and funding of PBS has fallen to 12% of revenues and PBS, with its’ constituent stations, has been forced to rely heavily on the largesse of corporate donors and wealthy individuals. David Koch alone has been said to have contributed about one billion dollars alone to various PBS stations. We also know that PBS is courting corporate sponsors heavily:

PBS even has a website dedicated to Corporate Sponsorship: Corporate Sponsorship Web Site where you can see a list of corporate sponsorship http://www.sgptv.org/sponsors/browse. Among those sponsors are corporations well-known for their “public interest”: ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Pfizer, Siemen’s, BP, Chubb, Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Ameriquest, McDonald’s and so on. When at the beginning of each PBS program the ubiquitous last statement is intoned “and from viewers like you”, they really don’t mean “you” do they?

“Public broadcasting, which largely targets an affluent, well-educated audience of liberal and progressive bent, is a powerful tool for shaping perceptions and convincing people to continue working within the system rather than fully appraising the corruption that undergirds that system. A brutally candid investigation of our country’s institutions and political/cultural leaders as they actually function would make affluent liberals much more uncomfortable. They’d have to examine the corporate, legal and academic networks of which they are a contented part. And they’d be forced to see that when liberals get into power, all too many end up serving corporate interests in ways that differ from conservatives more in style and tone than in profound shifts of policy and governance.

Public broadcasting regularly pulls its punches—and has gotten steadily worse in recent years. You can blame attacks from the Right, which periodically threaten to eliminate government support of PBS and NPR. But, in fact, public broadcasting has always been, to some extent, an arm of the establishment.

By creating an aura of thoughtfulness, it has essentially lulled the public into complacency. By its very existence, it has convinced us that dissent is not only welcomed but has a vigorous presence in the American conversation. By having hard-core corporate operatives gently debate tepid reformers, it has given us the facade of open discussion and probing inquiries. Which is why those oil companies, banks, and foundations set up by the very rich are so happy to underwrite all that good taste”. http://whowhatwhy.com/2012/04/17/political-ads-destroy-public-broadcasting-uniqueness/

One of my contentions is that both political parties in the United States are controlled by elite corporate interests. Their material differences are of whether to use an “iron fist” to retain control, or to use a “velvet glove” covering that “iron fist”. Beyond the concept of party though is the propaganda that has created the mythology that we are a country ruled by its’ Constitution, its’ legal system and most importantly its people. Indeed, the Founding Fathers meant this to be in the government they produced in what we can glean from their intent expressed in writing. Washington warned of partisanship. Franklin mused on whether their descendants would be able to keep the power of the people. The founding document has within it an acceptance of slavery by necessity of compromise. The idea of women having any rights at all would have been deemed scandalous if proposed. The radicals among the revolutionary leaders like Samuel Adams were soon marginalized and in effect the government that resulted from our Constitution was led by the wealthiest and most successful men in the country. This has continued up to today, yet we remain a rather stable country, due to the fact that most citizens still believe we are a democracy and have the most “freedom” of any nation in the world. This is because our populace still believes in an “American Dream” that has been carefully sold to them via our media and educational system.

Shifting back to PBS, I think it is fair to say that PBS represents mass media aimed at the more affluent and more educated elements of the country. I choose those words carefully because all too often the assumption is made that the most affluent and most educated people in the country are the most wise and intelligent, which “ain’t necessarily so” as the song goes. This target audience of the affluent and educated is no less susceptible to propaganda and myth than are the “unwashed masses”. Possibly they are more so because their lot in life is easier and so they are more susceptible to the idea of “American Exceptionalism”. One can even say that the PBS audience represents “opinion leaders” because of their education and affluence. Indeed these “opinion leaders” find themselves paid more attention by our establishment punditry, than by the rest of the people with less affluence and less education. The rest of the people’s television needs are catered to by the broadcast networks and the cable channels, who have strayed from their original purposes. Take a look at the programming on the History Channel and National Geographic Channels for instance. In the reaction of the media to 9/11 we saw our country sold on two unnecessary wars and on the rapid deterioration of our Constitutional freedoms as exhibited by those that exclaimed “This changes everything!” in the aftermath of 9/11. http://jonathanturley.org/2012/09/15/this-changes-everything/

 People like the Koch Brothers and corporations like Exxon/Mobil, Dow Chemical and Pfizer have long recognized that their presence as PBS donors gives them some clout as to what is being shown on PBS. Their presence alone has a chilling effect, not only on the PBS Executives and the Executives of its constituent stations, but also affects the producers whose shows are shown on PBS. Again from the linked “New Yorker” article:

“In a recent phone interview, Neal Shapiro, the president of WNET, said that he grew concerned about the film, which he had not yet watched, after Ira Stoll, a conservative writer, lambasted it in the Post. On the Friday before the film’s Monday airdate, Stoll, whose Web site, Future of Capitalism, has frequently defended the Kochs, wrote, “If the station has any sense, it will use the time until then to reconsider its decision to air the program.” He added, “If it doesn’t, its trustees and donors, some of whom live on Park Avenue, may want to consider whether they want to continue supporting an institution that insults them so viciously.” The reviewer for the Times was more positive, writing, “There is plenty here to turn you into a Wall Street occupier,” and observing, “If you were still on the fence about whether to despise the superrich, this film will almost surely make a hater out of you.”

That Friday, Shapiro initially said, he called Koch at his office and told him that the Gibney film “was going to be controversial,” noting, “You’re going to be a big part of this thing.” Shapiro offered to show him the trailer, and added that he hoped to arrange “some sort of on-air roundtable discussion of it, to provide other points of view.” It could air immediately after the documentary. (Shapiro told me, “We did this after Ken Burns’s film on baseball, too. We like to have a local angle.”) Shapiro asked Koch, “Do you want to be involved?” He also offered Koch the opportunity to provide a written response, which the station could air after the show.

According to Shapiro, Koch, who rarely speaks in public, passed on the roundtable offer, saying, “I may just want to take it in and watch it, and form an opinion.” He agreed to think about contributing a written response.

Shapiro acknowledges that his call to Koch was unusual. Although many prominent New Yorkers are portrayed in “Park Avenue,” he said that he “only just called David Koch. He’s on our board. He’s the biggest main character. No one else, just David Koch. Because he’s a trustee. It’s a courtesy.” Shapiro, who joined WNET six years ago, from NBC News, added, “I can’t remember doing anything like this—I can’t remember another documentary centered around New York and key people in the city, and such controversial topics.”

PBS has standards for “editorial integrity,” and its guidelines state that “member stations are responsible for shielding the creative and editorial processes from political pressure or improper influence from funders or other sources.” A PBS spokesperson, when asked if it considered WNET’s actions appropriate, said, “WNET is in the best position to respond to this query,” noting that member stations are autonomous.”

So Ken Shapiro, a former NBC executive, who now heads up WNET Channel 13 in New York felt constrained to warn Mr. Koch about this upcoming show and to offer his own defense following the broadcast. The fact is that Mr. Koch sat on the stations Board of Directors and had contributed a lot of money to the station.

“In fact, according to a well-informed source, WNET was about to embark on an ambitious capital campaign, and before Gibney’s film aired Koch had been planning to make a very large gift. “It was going to be a seven-figure donation—maybe more,” the source said. Shapiro denies that Koch’s patronage was a motive for his phone call.”

So the ubiquitous “And donations from people like you” is in a category with the famous dictum on the Barn in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: “Some animals are more equal than other animals”.

“Shortly before “Park Avenue” aired, Melissa Cohlmia, the chief spokesperson for Koch Industries, sent WNET a two-paragraph statement criticizing the film as “disappointing and divisive.” Cohlmia acknowledges, however, that neither she nor Koch had watched it. WNET aired the statement, unedited, immediately after the film. Cohlmia said that she based the critique on the trailer.”

So this film runs and its target immediately afterwards gets to air a statement disparaging it. I suppose one could see that as fair. However, now imagine yourself a producer of documentary films who has become aware of this and consequently become aware that powerful enemies are to be made by not pulling ones punches. How does this affect future film development?

“The weekend before “Park Avenue” aired, Gibney said, it was clear that “something weird had happened.” Shapiro called him at home. “He was very upset,” Gibney said. “They were thinking of pulling the program.” Gibney was told that the most pressing problem was Charles Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York. Schumer’s staff had called WNET, arguing that “Park Avenue” falsely accused the Senator of supporting tax loopholes for hedge-fund managers. Gibney double-checked his research and stood by his interpretation. Nevertheless, Shapiro told him that he planned to allow Schumer to add a response after the broadcast. But, Gibney noted, “Shapiro told me nothing about the Kochs.”

For those who think me merely a partisan defender of Democrats please note that I despise Chuck Schumer as a politician and he is possibly the most powerful Democratic Senator.  Chuck Schumer has been throughout his career a staunch defender of Corporatism and of Wall Street. He did support the “tax loopholes” mentioned and he has been supportive of the investment banking industry, while posing as a defender of the people. Another message is thus being sent to film producers.

“Shapiro said that, in the end, he was comfortable with the journalistic standards of “Park Avenue,” and noted that he’d heard many positive comments from viewers, as well as negative ones. (The broadcast received high ratings for a PBS documentary.) But he said he felt blindsided by the Independent Television Service—the small arm of public television that funds and distributes independent films—for not giving him sufficient advance warning of the documentary’s contents. ITVS, which is based in San Francisco and was founded some twenty years ago by independent filmmakers, prides itself on its resistance to outside pressure. Its mandate is to showcase opinionated filmmakers who “take creative risks, advance issues and represent points of view not usually seen on public or commercial television.” “Park Avenue” was part of its popular series “Independent Lens,” which is aired by dozens of PBS member stations.” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

The “New Yorker” goes on in depth about the chilling effect caused to ITVS that specifically affected other productions after the airing of Gibney’s documentary and I urge you to read it to expand your background on this subject.

What I’ve tried to point out is how PBS and WNET, once bastions of independent reporting have through the incursion of corporate interests and the sponsorship of the super rich have turned away from their core values. Those values and the creation of these entities were dealt with in my first article on PBS: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/04/28/pbs-why-i-watch-but-dont-contribute/

I don’t/won’t contribute to PBS because to my mind while it sometimes offers excellent programming which I devour, in general even those good programs have been tainted by a need to gloss over the fact that there is an elite whose money controls and stifles our democratic and constitutional processes. One of the shows on PBS that I watch is “The American Experience”. Recently they did one on John D. Rockefeller. http://video.pbs.org/video/2311494786/ While there was some interesting history in it, much of it was also hagiography. One such example was the bitter coal strike by workers attempting to organize a union in Rockefeller’s Colorado Oil Fields. Its culmination was the “Ludlow Massacre” which resulted in about 25 deaths caused by Pinkerton and National Guard shooting at the striking miner’s camp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre While the film treated the terrible conditions the miners lived under accurately, it closed out the sequence with Rockefeller’s son talking the miner’s out of voting for a Union, by making promises that were never kept. When you produce a show that purportedly portrays history accurately and that show is made with a grant from Exxon/Mobil the successor to Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, it seems pains are taken to not offend the corporate master.

Since I’m somewhat of a history buff, I find these changes made to revise what happened beyond annoying. This is but one of far too many examples of how corporate and elite interests has turned public television into a stealth tool for their propaganda. Because of this I can say without any guilt, I’ll watch their shows, but refuse to give them a dime.

Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger.

77 thoughts on “PBS: Why I Watch But Don’t Contribute: Part Deux

  1. Reagan did his best to defund PBS…. Using Barney as a prime reason why….. We need unbiased balanced TV from whatever source….. I don’t care if I agree with the contents so long as it has some resemblance to the truth…..

  2. Jack Parr, par deux, par excellance, par for the course, PBS: Par Butt Suc.
    When they put on Washington Week for only a half hour on Friday evening to do some sort of news summary they have on about four sort of respected jjournalists who chimne in. They never have on any radical journalist. How about Julian Assange?
    As for “giving” to the ParButtSuc, I gave at the office.

    Notice that PBS has never had a single story about dog leash laws. It is always: dog on a leash, dog on a leash. When CNN had the story about the dog watching over the guy in the tornado who was in distress the ParButtSuc did not run the story cause the dog was not on a leash. It turns out that the Koch Bros have an interest in some dog leash company. It figures. If you want a story about towns that do not have Leash Laws then go to Oriental NC. No dog is prosecuted for not being on a leash. Dogs can walk the fair grounds and look at the exhiibits just like the humanoids. Dogs can sit by the park bench next to some human they dont know and give him solace because his aunt DoeDoe just died. I would go on but I think that he Koch Bros own WordPress and I dont want to press my luck so to speak, no pun intended.

  3. The Public Broadcasting System morphed into the Propaganda Broadcasting Service concurrently with the advent of official warmongering.

    Which morphed the government into a Wartocracy.

    Courageous post Mike S.

    Somebody has to do it.

  4. Terrific article. PBS and the related stations have taken a sharp turn to the right. It is hard to miss. The rich don’t want to pay taxes but they are very adept at getting those tax breaks and taking all the benefits our government provides their nominally American corporations. Corporate and billionaire charity is not charity it a manipulation of the tax code and a good investment in good PR so that they can point to their “good works” while they destroy workers rights, middle class rights, democracy and the environment. PBS has become just another vehicle for this manipulation.

    Every time I see an interviewer talk to Bill Gates in tones normally reserved for party in church I bristle. This monopolist, this (insert your own word here). Is now a hero and a saint for giving money to people in India or giving Microsoft products to schools but no questions are ever asked about the business practices of his company or how he made his money. He is just such a saint. Saint Bill.

    The Corporate stream media has become nothing more that a PR engine for rich modern robber barrons and big corporations who spread some of their money Around for big tax breaks and secular sainthood. Charitable, I don’t think so. Cunning and manipulative yes.

  5. Public TV was originally called “Educational TV.” My introduction to this venue was not Mr. Roger’s, Sesame Street, etc. it was the 1962 NY Mets. That was their first season and they had no commercial station in Ct. that would pick them up to broadcast. Ct. is the combat zone of the vitriolic Yankees/Sox uncivil war. The Mets knew they had to get their product[as it were] to Ct. viewers. So, an educational tv station in either New Haven or Hartford broadcasted all their games. It was a live feed, ala the first big dish receivers of the 80’s that would pirate broadcasts. In other words, you hear what’s being said between innings, halftimes, etc. since the broadcasters have a hot mike. My mom’s family were Red Sox fans, my old man’s Yankee fans. So..I learned how to accept differing opinions. However, the Mets intriqued me. They played in the cavernous Polo Grounds, an old park I wish I had gotten to see in person. The team sucked. But their broadcast crew were Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner. They were unique. And, to hear them between innings was a hoot for a 10 year old kid. They would say what was really on their mind, and swearing was not uncommon. you could hear the more refined Bob Murphy constantly have to remind Kiner, “Ralph, we’re live!”

    Fast forward about 30 years. We took our kids to Wrigley on Labor Day Weekend to see a Cub/Mets game. We went to dinner @ Harry Caray’s restaurant[it’s pretty good]. Sitting a couple tables away from us were Kiner, Murphy, and their wives. I quietly pointed them out to the fam. A few minutes later our daughter asked if she go to the can solo. We were pleased because she was timid. She heads to the bathroom and stops @ the Kiner/Murphy table and JUST STARES @ THEM! She was, and is, a staring compulsive. Well, they 4 were wonderful, they called her over and conversed w/ her, spoke about the game, etc. I have a great Warren Spahn encounter @ a restaurant on MV I’ll tell sometime. I do contribute to Public TV because of the Mr. Rogers. He was a bond w/ my daughter and I. My son didn’t like him, but my daughter worshipped that wonderful, kind, man. We spent hours watching his great show. She wrote a tear jerking essay in high school about that which hangs on my office wall.

  6. The world of visual entertainment is changing. This short blip of TV as we have known it is about to undergo a major change as the internet allows people to have so many more choices on where to rest their eyes for entertainment purposes. Just this last month the pay cable and satellite TV providers lost viewers. There is a generational shift as younger people are actually watching less TV (and driving less), than the previous generation. Public TV will become a non issue very soon. We need to keep our eye on the internet to make sure corporate interests are not able to control the speed with which you receive content based on where it is coming from.

    Great post.

  7. “Freedom of speech is a cardinal rule for a free society.[citation needed] Dissent is essential to allow all points of view to be given and considered…”
    [However]:
    “In academia, the peer review process is occasionally cited as suppressing dissent against “mainstream” theories (part of an overall system of “suppression of intellectual dissent”). Robert Anton Wilson, in “The New Inquisition” (New Falcon Publications, 1991), called this an inquisition of the editors and reviewers of scientific journals, of leading authorities and self-appointed “skeptics”, and of corporations and governments that have a vested interest.”

    Techniques of military counterinsurgency appear to be practiced by reactionary groups that seek control over oppositional modes of expression including language, phrases and the operational technology of communication itself that permits the dissemination of alternative thinking from being presented in credible modalities. Rush Limbaugh among others screamed about “equal time” and created a monster movement of ranting against what they popularly slammed as the politicized “left” (red scare associations), BIG Socialism and the “Liberal” media. But the “Capture” of media is much more subtle. REFORM is used to characterize neo-liberal political agendas that privatize the public domain. The ability to finance propaganda matches an ability to put campaign money behind political capture and legislation that follows with insidious results. Witness the past attempts to cancel public broadcasting from political centers that literally hold public finance dangling as a “reform” issue and simultaneously demand “equal” time for private interest views: …using both as an excuse to coerce existing legitimate dissent but not just “pulling finance” but by replacing it. The results complete “convolute” the system and continues to present itself as free speech and public minded views. Of course the “private” people are always considered as Part of the Public so that “Public Private Partnerships” begin to obscure the lines…but ONLY in one direction.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/05/25/pbs-why-i-watch-but-dont-contribute-part-deux/#more-64714

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/05/27/130527fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=all

    Convolutions of dissent and reverse reactionary “capture” of reforms:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppression_of_dissent

    Types of suppression include:

    Direct action
    Indirect actions
    Self-censorship

  8. “Freedom of speech is a cardinal rule for a free society.[citation needed] Dissent is essential to allow all points of view to be given and considered…”
    [However]:
    “In academia, the peer review process is occasionally cited as suppressing dissent against “mainstream” theories (part of an overall system of “suppression of intellectual dissent”). Robert Anton Wilson, in “The New Inquisition” (New Falcon Publications, 1991), called this an inquisition of the editors and reviewers of scientific journals, of leading authorities and self-appointed “skeptics”, and of corporations and governments that have a vested interest.”

    Techniques of military counterinsurgency appear to be practiced by reactionary groups that seek control over oppositional modes of expression including language, phrases and the operational technology of communication itself that permits the dissemination of alternative thinking from being presented in credible modalities. Rush Limbaugh among others screamed about “equal time” and created a monster movement of ranting against what they popularly slammed as the politicized “left” (red scare associations), BIG Socialism and the “Liberal” media. But the “Capture” of media is much more subtle. REFORM is used to characterize neo-liberal political agendas that privatize the public domain. The ability to finance propaganda matches an ability to put campaign money behind political capture and legislation that follows with insidious results. Witness the past attempts to cancel public broadcasting from political centers that literally hold public finance dangling as a “reform” issue and simultaneously demand “equal” time for private interest views: …using both as an excuse to coerce existing legitimate dissent but not just “pulling finance” but by replacing it. The results complete “convolute” the system and continues to present itself as free speech and public minded views. Of course the “private” people are always considered as Part of the Public so that “Public Private Partnerships” begin to obscure the lines…but ONLY in one direction.

    Convolutions of dissent and reverse reactionary “capture” of reforms:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppression_of_dissent

    Types of suppression include:

    Direct action
    Indirect actions
    Self-censorship

  9. Paul, Absolutely. The market demands of consumers have changed. I believe it’s for the better. There’s a perfect example of that this weekend. The superb, intelligent, comedy, Arrested Development was on Fox for 3 seasons. It won many awards but just didn’t get the ratings. Well, Netflix has produced 15 episodes and will be streaming all 15 this Sunday. People love to watch entire seasons @ their pleasure, not a networks. My wife has gotten up to speed on Downton Abbey. We both got up to speed on Dexter and Weeds, by watching old episodes @ our leisure. The Wire is next, along w/ Breaking Bad. We watched an entire season of Dexter on a blizzard weekend. So, folks who watch network news, PBS, etc. are a dying breed and the dynamic younger people are making the market work for them. I like it. But, some folks don’t like change. For the most part I embrace it, and hope that never changes.

  10. Great job Mike. I too have been concerned about the corporate influence on PBS. You would think the tax write off would be enough for those corporate sponsors, but I guess it would be naïve to imagine that the wealthy and corporate sponsors have ulterior motives for their “giving”. It is astounds me that PBS would call in David Koch to see if he wants to time to respond! Just one more reason why the Koch brothers should stopped in their efforts to buy the Trib and other papers.

  11. Thank you for this, Mike. Since I am addicted to Antiques Roadshow, I have always wondered why there were commercials on a station that, as I remember, was focused on being non-commercial. I figured that it was like cable TV. Seems to me that when cable first started, the big selling point was that it would be ‘commercial free’ because, as a subscriber, YOU were paying the costs that commercials normally paid. We know where THAT went. So, thanks for explaining it. Doesn’t make it any more palitable, but at least now I know.

  12. Mike: I have to commend you on this article. it is easy to catch a trend but it is harder to define the true voice in our wilderness. I had noted in watching PBS that David Brooks (for one annoying example) seemed to be commentating with opinions in far too many situations. I have seen it in print that he is a Washington propagandist and he does seem to simply spell out the current “narrative” for what is happening. Overall, as the saying goes PBS news in particular appears to talk to the left while they walk to the right. The FACT is that most of us have been in denial as we watch and i think there has been a good deal of “say it ain’t so” kind of disbelief even as these obvious CONSOLIDATED perspectives and Wall Street business health as the handy wipes for the economy hit us directly in the face from week to week. Accepting the bad with the good (there are still some very insightful programming and aesthetics produced or replayed…) has become a new version of complacency. I have to thank you directly though, you definitely woke me up on this concern. Maybe,…just maybe…its not too late?

  13. BruceE,

    David Brooks is to the Republicans, what Tom Friedman is to the Democrats, a corporatist that muddies the issues, so that those in power continue in power. I’m up in the air though as to which one is the more obtuse and whether their ignorance is real or a put on. Thoroughly despicable people.

    There were two roots that began my disaffection with PBS and WNET (NYC). The first was the growing realization that the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour was the network news presented in a more intellectual, upscale format. The second of course was William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” presented as one of the premier shows. Buckley, a scion of privilege, CIA operative and founder of modern conservatism, dazzled people with his spectacular vocabulary and speech pattern of someone “to the Manor born”. In truth he was an illogical bully in debate who finally got to the point of threatening Gore Vidal, as Vidal was making a fool of him during convention coverage. On “Firing Line” whenever a guest would get the better of Buckley, which was often, he would use his prerogative as host to curtly cut them off. A despicable man that I wrote about here: http://jonathanturley.org/2011/12/04/william_f__buckley_jr__1985/ . That such an obvious charlatan, at least to anyone with even a moderate ability to think logically, was given so much air time and publicity, cued me in that this wasn’t the Public Broadcasting that I was used to.

  14. As it was last year, so is it this year an incredibly convoluted reason to justify not supporting the many wonderful programs that are broadcast on PBS. If you are comfortable consuming the programming you seem to enjoy so much on PBS without contributing towards it’s presentation, that’s your choice. I for one am grateful to those others, like me, that feel some small responsibility to further the ideals of Public Broadcasting because of it’s overall excellence and in spite of it’s flaws.

    Baby. Bathwater. Tempest. Teacup.

  15. RWL,

    Elmo is one of the most commercialized brand names for kids. Sesame Street itself is now awash in commercial opportunities. As for my joining Mitt, well as long as PBS keeps putting on some programs I like I’ll watch it and let guys like Mitt (Not Mitt because he’s too stupid to understand why he should support PBS) pay the freight until they finally make the whole thing unwatchable.

  16. “I for one am grateful to those others, like me, that feel some small responsibility to further the ideals of Public Broadcasting because of it’s overall excellence and in spite of it’s flaws.”

    David Hopsicker,

    More power to you and your co-sponsors David Koch and Exxon/Mobil. If you noticed I didn’t once tell anyone else not to contribute, merely expressed my own reasons for not contributing. I referenced the “flaws” you mentioned and if they’re cool with you, than go right ahead and contribute as much as you can. By the way though can you make sure you give to “American Masters”, “Antiques Roadshow” and anything by Ken Burns, because they’re the shows I like the best.

  17. David, Some folks are heavily into guilt by association. I agree w/ what you said, and am proud I never guilt trip people. I was raised Catholic which is dripping w/ guilt. However, I was blessed neither of my parents were guilt trippers, a quality my kids appreciate in me.

  18. Mike: I love when you reference your earlier articles; you might consider archiving it under one link and doing a “summary article” assessing the drifts in processing the channels you have opened!

    In the meantime, let’s collaborate;… Appropo to William F. Buckley’s impact on “freedom ideology” press Here’s some more data:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Freeman
    “The Freeman is an American libertarian journal published by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).[1] It started as a digest sized monthly study journal; it currently appears 10 times per year and is a larger-sized magazine. FEE was founded in 1946 by Leonard E. Read, who served as its president until his death in 1983. The Foundation was established to present the principles of free markets, limited government, private property, the rule of law, and libertarian philosophy and to oppose government programs introduced during the 1930s under President Roosevelt’s New Deal.”
    The editors of The Freeman have included Henry Hazlitt, John Chamberlain, Suzanne La Follette, Paul L. Poirot, Brian Summers, Charles Hamilton, and John Robbins. Henry Hazlitt, an economist and journalist, had been one of FEE’s founders and his articles continued to appear regularly in The Freeman after its take-over by FEE. John Chamberlain became FEE’s regular book reviewer and his reviews appeared in The Freeman until his death in 1995. Leonard Read, FEE’s President, was also a regular contributor, as was FEE’s economic adviser, Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises. Other contributors in the 1950s included: Barbara Branden, James Burnham, Frank Chodorov, John Dos Passos, Max Eastman, John T. Flynn, F. A. Hayek, Frank Meyer, Raymond Moley, Roscoe Pound, Wilhelm Röpke, Murray Rothbard, Morrie Ryskind and George Sokolsky.[3]

    The Freeman is widely considered to be an important forerunner to the conservative publication National Review magazine, which was founded in 1955, and which from its inception included many of the same contributing editors.”
    [and}

  19. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/16538-the-corporate-dictatorship-of-pbs-and-npr
    The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR
    Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:53 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed
    [selected excerpts: read all @ link]:

    The Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 states that, “It is in the public interest to encourage the growth and development of public radio and television broadcasting, including the use of such media for instructional, educational, and cultural purposes… it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to complement, assist, and support a national policy that will most effectively make public telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States.”

    “This worked great for years.

    The Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio brought educational programming, and independent news and political analysis to millions of Americans.

    But, with the onset of “Reaganomics” 33 years ago, federal funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been slashed.

    As a result, public broadcasting institutions now rely more and more on corporate and billionaire cash to operate, which is probably why PBS and NPR now filter what they play on their airwaves, so that they don’t anger their wealthy backers.”

    when you donate $23 million dollars to public television, you get more than just a tote bag or a coffee mug – you get to dictate the on-air programming.

    This is the kind of influence and control that we see in mainstream media today too.

    Thanks to the giant transnational corporations that own them, mainstream media outlets tailor their programming to appease their corporate backers.

    We can’t do anything about the big corporations that own our so-called “mainstream” media, but Public Broadcasting is still, at least in part, both legally and morally a part of our commons.

    It’s time to take back our public airwaves, and cut-off the corporate and billionaire control over them, so that David Koch and his buddies don’t get to choose what you watch on TV.

    And the only way to do that is to fully fund public radio and television.

    Call your members of Congress, and tell them to protect funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so that it can pick back up its work to “enrich man’s spirit.”

    (full credits):
    This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication

    The Corporate Dictatorship of PBS and NPR
    Wednesday, 22 May 2013 14:53
    By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed

  20. Bruce,

    As usual your comments add much to the thread. I wasn’t aware of the Freeman at all, much less its being a forerunner to the National Review. My initial awareness of the National Review came when I was about 12, when Buckley started appearing on the Sunday morning news discussion shows, which I watched with my father. The Thom Hartmann piece also nicely summarizes the situation, but I think it is a little too hopeful. Even with total government funding PBS would be subject to political pressure and the threat of diminished funds behind it. At base the problem is that producing programs for a television network and then putting them out there so a sufficient number of people could see them costs a fortune. That is why the Internet seems the brightest avenues for disseminating information and contrary viewpoints. how long of course before the Internet itself is shackled by widespread censorship?

    As for an archive of my blogs, or those of the other guest bloggers, all that is necessary is entering our names into the search function on the upper right and you get everything we’ve written.

  21. “More power to you and your co-sponsors David Koch and Exxon/Mobil. If you noticed I didn’t once tell anyone else not to contribute, merely expressed my own reasons for not contributing. I referenced the “flaws” you mentioned and if they’re cool with you, than go right ahead and contribute as much as you can.”

    So, contributors to Public Broadcasting are aligning with the corporate interests?

    Mr. Spindell, it takes a lot of words to make being a freeloader sound so principled. Your lengthy rationalization is an interesting read, even though it’s all dedicated to making you sound like a swell guy. But in the end you’re just another deadbeat.

    I guess all of us little supporters should all just step aside and allow the Kochs full rein, or should I say full reign.

  22. lindylou22,

    Contribute all you want, but it’s not that your contribution will matter, it won’t. Koch contributed a $billion. If 100,000 people contribute $100 each that makes $10 million, $990 million less than Koch. He was on the board of directors and you got an overpriced tote bag.

  23. Let us hope that the author’s ill-conceived and unique brand of philanthropic nihilism spreads no further than his self congratulatory posts on this blog.

    I’m not sure what led him to believe that readers might be interested in his personal choices about charitable giving (not just once but TWICE!). but I am sure many will join me in admiring his prodigious mastery of the cut and paste. When can we expect more of these “Get Off My Lawn!” exposes?

  24. Well, Mike, there you go again. Are you going to claim that your aren’t telling me not to contribute?

    Many of us don’t share your cynicism, a fact you’ll have to learn to live with. PBS has millions of supporters, not 100,000. Your little illustration above is nonsense. Besides the phony numbers manipulation, it presupposes that money absolutely dictates principle and that the largest contributors are the only ones who matter to the leaders at PBS. I hope you don’t honestly believe that everybody associated with PBS has sold out their principles.

    We all cringed when congressional republicans threatened to cut off federal funding for PBS unless they had more influence on the programming. But your answer is for individual supporters to cut off funding for public broadcasting, thus making the financial elites all the more influential. I’m not ready to hand PBS over to them on their own silver platter.

    If you don’t want to contribute, then don’t. But don’t tell me you’re doing it out of principle until you turn the channel.

  25. “As it was last year, so is it this year an incredibly convoluted reason to justify not supporting the many wonderful programs that are broadcast on PBS. If you are comfortable consuming the programming you seem to enjoy so much on PBS without contributing towards it’s presentation, that’s your choice.”

    DavidH.

    “Mr. Spindell, it takes a lot of words to make being a freeloader sound so principled. Your lengthy rationalization is an interesting read, even though it’s all dedicated to making you sound like a swell guy. But in the end you’re just another deadbeat.

    Lindylou22.

    “Let us hope that the author’s ill-conceived and unique brand of philanthropic nihilism spreads no further than his self congratulatory posts on this blog.

    I’m not sure what led him to believe that readers might be interested in his personal choices about charitable giving (not just once but TWICE!). but I am sure many will join me in admiring his prodigious mastery of the cut and paste. When can we expect more of these “Get Off My Lawn!” exposes?”

    DavidH.

    “it presupposes that money absolutely dictates principle and that the largest contributors are the only ones who matter to the leaders at PBS.”

    David Hopsicker and Lindylou22,

    I applaud you both. With four comments between you, in none of them did you offer a refutation of the points I was making and the quotes and links I supplied as backup, of which you probably read none. All you could muster were personal attacks upon me. It is a tribute to your critical thing, or lack of same, that you ingest everything you see on PBS with such equanimity. Were you to justify the machinations around the PBS refusal to air the film “Citizen Koch” because it would offend him, that would require a modicum thought and logic. The same would be required to refute the many links presented by Bruce E., but you chose instead to directly attack me. On this blog that is your prerogative since we respect freedom of expression, which I believe PBS does not, but perhaps that’s exactly what your looking for.

    Now on the other hand, I like to back up my contentions with documentation upon which the reader base their conclusions about my arguments validity. Bill Moyers has for decades been an American treasure. Twenty months after retiring from his PBS show Mr. Moyers has returned with a new show, with a lighter schedule due to his age. Curiously, PBS has decided not to air it, so it will be independently distributed.

    “Mr. Moyers said he was unsure why PBS, where he has spent most of his career since 1971, declined the show for its main schedule. Some public television executives, who would not publicly comment on a sensitive issue, said they believed that PBS did not want to realign itself with Mr. Moyers, a longtime target of some conservatives, as it was fighting to keep its federal financing.”

    The full NY Times story which goes into greater depth is linked here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/arts/television/bill-moyers-returns-to-tv-but-not-with-pbs.html?_r=0

    Bill Moyers and Michael Winship (another PBS long time stalwart wrote the following article and in their courtly manner were critical of the climate at PBS:

    “Most of both our careers have been in public television. Our affection and gratitude for it abideth, but we are not blind to the problems. Public broadcasting’s ever-tenuous funding places it in a perpetual dilemma and forces it into a delicate balancing act. PBS provides programming like Independent Lens and P.O.V. that may not garner the most viewers but helps fulfill its essential mission of public service — and, candidly, attracts grants from kindred spirits who believe in a robust mix of ideas and visions. But to lure a wider audience, it also airs what our neighborhood diner calls “lighter fare” — whether entertaining, upscale imports like Downton Abbey, home-grown, how-to programs like This Old House or (during pledge drives) nostalgic reruns of folk musicians, pop crooners, and financial and spiritual gurus — aimed at older viewers with, presumably, more disposable income.

    Add to this the constant political pressures, especially from conservative politicians ever eager to cut off its funding (Mitt Romney says he wants to see commercials on “Sesame Street”), plus the self-censorship that all too often results, and you get a tendency toward orthodoxy and an aversion to controversy.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-moyers/to-pbs-with-tough-love_b_1375682.html

    Now of course both articles linked treat the subject in more depth than I can quote here and judging from you personal attacks on me and not on the issues I’ve raised I doubt you’ll take the time to peruse them. Contributing to PBS sends them a clear message that you are satisfied with the status quo and that the control exercised over it by wealthy people like David Koch is fine with you. Indeed, if the current state of affairs at PBS meets your approval then I can understand your contributions which are in effect votes of confidence and support of these new “wealth sensitive” accommodations to principle.

  26. “David, Some folks are heavily into guilt by association. I agree w/ what you said, and am proud I never guilt trip people.”

    Really Nick,

    Who might those “some folks” be? I thought you wanted and end to bickering?

  27. David Hopsicker and Lindylou22, – I applaud you both. With four comments between you, in none of them did you offer a refutation of the points I was making and the quotes and links I supplied as backup, of which you probably read none. All you could muster were personal attacks upon me.

    MikeS.

    Not to belabor the point, but you most certainly invited personal comment by personalizing the subject of your post, making it not about PBS but about your reaction to PBS. Your “poor me” attempt to equate honest critcism with personal attacks are at best disingenuous.

    In addition, it seems that both LindlyLou22 and I have both in some ways agreed with you regarding the dangers of corporate sponsorship of media. You made an interesting and compelling case, Mike. I merely took issue with your decision to characterize your willing consumption of the corporate commercials contained within PBS programming as somehow a more principled action than those of us who choose to materially fund quality television with our contributions.

    The facts are that while PBS has compromised itself with proximity to the oligarchs, what it needs to better serve their original mission is more public involvement not less, and yes, more individual contributions not fewer. Want to stem the tide of corporate influence on PBS? Write a check. You already watch their corporate commercials, you have voted with your eyeballs, now get a little skin in the game.

    Should your drop in the bucket feelings persist, I suggest you make your giving less about yourself and more about the common good. Many drops in the bucket will eventually fill it.

  28. A dollar to a poor man is more valuable than a hundred to a rich person. We “vote” with our money on PBS and just like corporate invading the election system in unfair ways, Big money from Koch and leverage from corporate generally is doing the same to what is supposed to be public domain communications. To place that food dollar into the pot is significant and to hold it back in protest is even more significant when it is done openly and for protest against that hundred. I agree with Mike, it is only supporting the corporate influence to send in donations to a controlled and captured medium. Give us choice of programs specifically to place our donations and where to deny the dollar allocation: THAT would be a voice.
    As it is going now it is only reinforcing a bad trend to show support. I suggest that people call in on the fund raisers and tell them you refuse!
    Tell them you refuse to give because Koch TV is not your bag! Tell them when they allow us to specifically designate where our donations will go; specifically what broadcasts we support with our symbolic dollar, then we will sacrifice for arts sake and give up some food money. Otherwise it is just good money after bad.

    It is definitely an important idea to Call your members of Congress, and tell them to protect funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, so that it can pick back up its work to “enrich man’s spirit.”

    By the way, Mike…it ‘IS’ PERSONAL! And it should be! Anyone claiming it isn’t personal…just ain’t American!

  29. the picture on the front page of the pdf is very impressive)
    ORIGINAL pdf LINK HERE:
    http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/04/pdf/koch_brothers.pdf
    The Koch Brothers
    What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right
    Tony Carrk April 2011

    1 Introduction and summary
    3 Who are the Koch brothers and Koch Industries?
    8 Bankrolling the right wing
    12 Using Americans for Prosperity to “stimulate” the Tea Party
    14 Bankrolling and influencing the U.S. Congress
    17 Bankrolling state politicians
    19 The real Koch brothers’ philosophy
    25 What’s next?
    26 Endnotes
    27 About the author and acknowledgements
    Contents
    [NOTE THAT THE PDF COPY HERE DID NOT CARRY ALL MAPS, PHOTOS OR ILLUSTRATIVE MATERIALS GO TO LINK FOR THE ORIGINAL COMPLETE VERSION]

  30. Thank you Nick. David, what you just said speaks for me, too. LOVE the comment about Mike voting with his eyeballs.

    I didn’t find it necessary to argue point by point because Mike’s theme was only to justify his freeloading. What finally got me to log in and comment was Mike’s nasty jab to David for contributing — and then Mike turned around and did it right back to me. On top of that, he then turns around and cries about personal attacks.

    Mike, I have blood in this game. My daughter works for a large-market PBS television station. There isn’t anything you’re going to say that will justify your position to me. Give it up. I consider you wrong, and I hate like hell the tactics you use when you’re cornered.

    For instance, I just don’t know enough to agree with you. Another of your tactics was telling Nick he was bickering. Very Tea Party, Mike. If somebody disagrees with you, then it’s bickering. But of course anybody who joins in the pile-on against PBS has a great point.

    http://www.pbs.org/about/leadership/board/

    Here’s the link for the list of current PBS board members. If you don’t like the current programming, let them know.

  31. http://www.thenation.com/article/163672/charles-koch-friedrich-hayek-use-social-security
    Charles Koch to Friedrich Hayek: Use Social Security!

    In a 1973 letter, the right-wing billionaire urged the libertarian philosopher to collect Social Security and to use Medicare coverage when visiting the United States.
    Yasha Levine and Mark Ames
    September 27, 2011 | This article appeared in the October 17, 2011 edition of The Nation.

    Read more:
    Charles Koch, billionaire patron of free-market libertarianism, privately championed the benefits of Social Security to Friedrich Hayek, the leading laissez-faire economist of the twentieth century. Koch even sent Hayek a government pamphlet to help him take advantage of America’s federal retirement insurance and healthcare programs.

    Read more:

    This extraordinary correspondence regarding Social Security began in early June 1973, weeks after Koch was appointed president of the Institute for Humane Studies. Along with his brothers, Koch inherited his father’s privately held oil company in 1967, becoming one of the richest men in America. He used this fortune to help turn the IHS, then based in Menlo Park, California, into one of the world’s foremost libertarian think tanks. Soon after taking over as president, Koch invited Hayek to serve as the institute’s “distinguished senior scholar” in preparation for its first conference on Austrian economics, to be held in June 1974.

    Read more: http://www.thenation.com/article/163672/charles-koch-friedrich-hayek-use-social-security#ixzz2UXBiUGsz

    (Keep in mind that ‘Charlie’ Koch …could have easily arranged for the medical attention out of his lunch money!)

  32. Fact: The Koch brothers spent up to $400 million in the 2012 elections attempting to elect right-wing candidates to the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and governorships. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    Fact: The Koch brothers have established or funded dozens of right-wing organizations dedicated to providing huge tax breaks to the rich and multi-national corporations, destroying trade unions and workers’ rights, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and making massive cuts to programs of vital importance to the middle class and working families. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    Fact: The Koch brothers, who have made their fortune in the fossil fuel industry, are strongly supporting a massive disinformation campaign to deny the reality of the planetary crisis of global warming. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    And now, the Koch brothers want to expand their power by taking over the Tribune Newspaper chain — the nation’s second largest newspaper publisher. The Tribune Company chain includes such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Baltimore Sun, the Daily Press and The Morning Call — among other papers.

    We must not allow that to happen. Please join 65,000 other Americans in urging the Tribune Company not to sell their newspapers to the Koch brothers. Enough is enough! http://democracyforamerica.com/pages/768?t=bernie

    Bernie
    Senator Bernie Sanders

  33. From Senator Bernie Sanders:
    Bruce E. Woych 1, May 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Fact: The Koch brothers spent up to $400 million in the 2012 elections attempting to elect right-wing candidates to the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and governorships. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    Fact: The Koch brothers have established or funded dozens of right-wing organizations dedicated to providing huge tax breaks to the rich and multi-national corporations, destroying trade unions and workers’ rights, privatizing Social Security and Medicare and making massive cuts to programs of vital importance to the middle class and working families. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    Fact: The Koch brothers, who have made their fortune in the fossil fuel industry, are strongly supporting a massive disinformation campaign to deny the reality of the planetary crisis of global warming. Those efforts will continue in the future.

    And now, the Koch brothers want to expand their power by taking over the Tribune Newspaper chain — the nation’s second largest newspaper publisher. The Tribune Company chain includes such newspapers as the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant, the Orlando Sentinel, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Baltimore Sun, the Daily Press and The Morning Call — among other papers.

    We must not allow that to happen. Please join 65,000 other Americans in urging the Tribune Company not to sell their newspapers to the Koch brothers. Enough is enough!

    Bernie
    Senator Bernie Sanders

  34. Published on Aug 23, 2012

    Koch Brothers Exposed is a hard-hitting investigation of the 1% at its very worst. This full-length documentary film on Charles and David Koch—two of the world’s richest and most powerful men—is the latest from acclaimed director Robert Greenwald (Wal-Mart: the High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, Rethink Afghanistan). The billionaire brothers bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights. This film uncovers the Kochs’ corruption—and points the way to how Americans can reclaim their democracy.
    Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed” (Full)

  35. Lindy & David,

    You didn’t care to argue point by point because frankly you couldn’t. David even said he agreed with most of my analysis. LindyLou, of course you have skin in the game your daughter’s employment. Both of you believe that my purposes in writing this piece was to justify myself. It wasn’t, it was a means of informing people about what I think has happened to PBS, however, I used the device of my personal feelings as a means of capturing peoples attention, sorry you didn’t care for it but it certainly caught your attention. If I had just written a straight piece about PBS censorship would you have read it, or merely went ho hum?

    Now Davids original comment to me was acerbic, should I have not responded in kind? As for getting “skin in the game” by contributing, good luck with that, my point is that as long as those like you contribute things will continue down this monied road, but perhaps that is to your liking.

  36. Published on Oct 1, 2012

    September 28, 2012: Moyers & Company presents “United States of ALEC,” a report on the most influential corporate-funded political force most of America has never heard of — ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. A national consortium of state politicians and powerful corporations, ALEC presents itself as a “nonpartisan public-private partnership.” But behind that mantra lies a vast network of corporate lobbying and political action aimed to increase corporate profits at public expense without public knowledge.
    “United States of ALEC” is a collaboration between Okapi Productions, LLC and the Schumann Media Center, headed by Bill Moyers, which supports independent journalism and public watchdogs including the Center for Media and Democracy, whose investigators are featured in the report.

  37. Bruce,

    If you’ve put gas in your car or bought a piece of plywood in the last 20 years then chances are good that you have purchased products from Koch Industries and contributed more to the furthering of their abhorent political philosophy than I have in my humble donations to keep Sesame Street and Call The Midwife on the air.

  38. Bruce,

    Thank you once again for your excellent furthering of this discussion.

    David,

    The argument you just tried on Bruce re: supporting the Koch Bros. by buying their goods was weak and flawed. This is because not only do you buy their products but you also suport the by supporting stations that they and their other rich allies control. Stick to calling names, logic isn’t your forte.

  39. http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/01/435455/pollutocrat-deniers-charles-and-david-koch-file-suit-to-take-over-cato-insitute/?mobile=nc

    “Let’s remember who the Kochs are — billionaire brothers who have done more to spread anti-science, pro-pollution disinformation than any other people on the planet:

    A 2010 report found Koch Industries now outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation
    We have video proof David Koch pulls the strings of the Tea Party extremists
    We know Koch-fueled Americans for Prosperity takes credit for bullying GOP lawmakers into climate denial

    MEANWHILE:
    “University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, shows Koch Industries as one of the nation’s top 10 polluters/emitters. See detailed emissions breakdowns –

    http://www.peri.umass.edu/toxic_index”

  40. Also David, think about the price structure involved with the Koch Bros controlling so many industry brands they have bought out…not just monopolizing these markets but making every citizen pay for their obsessive power hawking and anti-democratic meanderings.

    The point here is that these guys are attempting to also take over PBS and that should be abundantly clear from the listings I have posted:

    Boycott what you can; here’s some of the major brands:

    http://inspirationgreen.com/koch-brothers-products.html

  41. Thanks YOU Mike for the courage! (Remember: Power to the People was not a rant…it was a demand).

  42. Yes Mike, how courageous of you to not send in money and watch PBS anyway. From what depths do you summon this fortitude?

    Please post a list of all other charitable donatons you have somehow managed to stop youself from making. Courage indeed!

  43. “Lindy & David,

    You didn’t care to argue point by point because frankly you couldn’t. ”

    Nice try, Mike. Didn’t work last time, and won’t work this time. My problem is not with your subject matter but with your conclusion. I’m also developing quite a problem with the way you attempt to manipulate the conversation.

    You seem to forget that almost everyone who regularly enjoys Prof. Turley’s blog has more than a passing interest in issues such as censorship and private interests versus public domain. We really don’t need you to jazz up a topic in order to pique our interest.

    After all the information you presented, your conclusion is that you enjoy Public Broadcasting but refuse to support it; and you really, really don’t want anyone else to support it, either.

    That would work out fabulously for the corporate interests. Take what you can get from it, it’s justified. It already belongs to the Kochs anyway. Let them have it.

    I’m beginning to wonder if you aren’t on their payroll.

  44. Good point Lindylou22. I wish I could embed ten or twelve video’s to back you up, but I think your words were sufficient.

    I think MS’s rhetorical tactics have been covered by other contributors to the conversations elsewhere on this blog, but it does bear repeating.

    Amazingly enough, I have just watched an episode of Antiques Roadshow this evening and somehow managed to avoid that nasty meglomaniacal aftertaste some have been experiencing. Lucky me.

  45. OS,

    Thanks for those helpful links. I don’t buy any of the Koch paper products, but who knows about the others? It seems that Koch industries has become ubiquitous and has made strategic moves in media. After all who cares as long as they can watch Call the Midwife.

  46. PBS and NPR are both in the tank as far as I am concerned. With government funding cut to the bone, how could they not have been compromised? I am sure others would have a more polite way to put it, but when public funding is cut, they were up for sale to the highest bidder. And that is not little folks like us with our hundred dollar donations.

    Another reason I had cable service turned off. I save a hundred and twenty dollars a month, and am not tempted to watch corporate media.

  47. Bruce, if you like drum solos, you have to like John Joe Kelley. To say he plays the bodhran is like saying Sir Edmund Hillary likes to take hikes on the hillsides.

  48. @Otteray Scribe: I am thrilled with discovering an authentic Irish source of “energy” that I was not aware of…and certainly didn’t ever get it from PBS’s efforts lately…however, there was reason beyond the percussion that I referenced the interview with John Densmore above. In part it was because this di come from Public Radio. Moreso because Densmore’s discussion goes into a very serious “ethical” foundation that was truly part of the counter-culture of the 60s but is lost in the commercialization process of marketing. The discussion is a battle. A battle of loyalty and consciousness and being true to a principle that is just beyond your grasp, but you can touch. So easy to let go but Densmore gives us a sample of someone willing to keep his finger on the truth; even as it challenges his very being.
    You have to view the interview. It is authenticity that can not be duplicated and mass produced for market…and yet the Doors were and are to this day…market successes. But you have to view the interview.

    Still further, Densmore goes beyond “drumming” in the final performance he gives at the enc of the interview. He becomes something truely cultural and there is a presence there that you can’t package and commodify. Once again you have to experience it by viewing.

    But still further. Densmore “enters into” a poem as he chants and creates a flowing rhapsody of rhythmic soul. And that soul/spirit unity is beyond words alone and beyond drumming alone. If you listen and view it you will see something that graces humanity and is rarely created these market days…You will see ART as a sacred enactment and it will engage you with a sense of what is vital but oh so fleeting. And the poem that he enacts into his bohemian chant is of living pain; and of the human sacred lonely search for meaning. Here is the poem by Etheridge Knight:

    Etheridge Knight

    The Bones of My Father

    1
    There are no dry bones
    here in this valley. The skull
    of my father grins
    at the Mississippi moon
    from the bottom
    of the Tallahatchie,
    the bones of my father
    are buried in the mud
    of these creeks and brooks that twist
    and flow their secrets to the sea.
    but the wind sings to me
    here the sun speaks to me
    of the dry bones of my father.

    2
    There are no dry bones
    in the northern valleys, in the Harlem alleys
    young / black / men with knees bent
    nod on the stoops of the tenements
    and dream
    of the dry bones of my father.

    And young white longhairs who flee
    their homes, and bend their minds
    and sing their songs of brotherhood
    and no more wars are searching for
    my father’s bones.

    3
    There are no dry bones here.
    We hide from the sun.
    No more do we take the long straight strides.
    Our steps have been shaped by the cages
    that kept us. We glide sideways
    like crabs across the sand.
    We perch on green lilies, we search
    beneath white rocks…
    THERE ARE NO DRY BONES HERE

    The skull of my father
    grins at the Mississippi moon
    from the bottom
    of the Tallahatchie.

  49. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I
    get several e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Thanks!

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