One year ago, more than fifty Bostonians (and Elmo) presented the WGBH board with 50,000 signatures demanding the removal of David Koch as a trustee. One year later, despite an ever-louder chorus of voices demanding Koch’s removal, he remains on the board. So we’ll be returning this year, stronger than ever. We’ll rally outside the WGBH building and present the WGBH board with 400,000 signatures demanding Koch’s removal.
3:00pm – 4:00pm ET: Listen to music, speakers, hold signs and engage in fun chants.
4:00 pm: Attend the public portion of the WGBH board meeting with Koch-Free WGBH t-shirts (will be supplied by us, if you don’t have one already).
WGBH’s offices at One Guest Street, Boston (accessible by the 86 and 64 MBTA bus lines)
According to the New York Post, the Public Broadcasting Service has suspended advertising in Harper’s Magazine after the journal published a story critical of David Koch’s relationship to public television. The billionaire carbon financier and Tea Party funder is on the board of Boston’s PBS flagship station WGBH, and until a recent New Yorker exposé served on the board of New York City’s WNET. Koch is also on the board overseeing WGBH’s science program Nova.
The Harper’s story, by journalist Eugenia Williamson, detailed the campaign by climate advocacy group Forecast the Facts to get WGBH to drop Koch (including a profile of the protest and petition delivery I led at WGBH’s board meeting last November). Williamson was critical of Koch’s potential influence over the public television station.The Post reports:
In the past, Harper’s teamed up with PBS to sponsor a kickoff event timed to Ken Burns award-winning World War II documentary.
While there was an ad for the latest Burns saga “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” PBS has pulled ads from the November and December issues. The ads were supposed to hype the box set CD editions of the documentary.
“I have to say I am shocked,” John “Rick” MacArthur, the president and publisher of Harper’s, told Post media reporter Keith J. Kelly. “You’d think PBS would be above that kind of tit-for-tat mentality.”
“PBS has lost its moral compass,” wrote Forecast the Facts campaign manager Emily Southard in a press release. “Instead of punishing its critics, PBS should pull itself away from the influence of David Koch and others who work to misinform Americans about climate change.”
The political organizations founded and run by the Koch brothers — particularly the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity — are committed against public funding for the arts, including public television. Their advocacy over the past thirty years has successfully decimated federal and local support for public television. Through these organizations, Koch supports the miseducation of the public, including children, on the existential threat of climate change. Koch Industries is one of the nation’s largest and most toxic polluters, and Koch works to prevent government efforts to protect the public from that pollution.
WGBH is providing David Koch not only a tax write-off but also social legitimacy, despite his being one of their greatest enemies.
Activists with Forecast the Facts and the Better Future Project will be protesting again in Boston and delivering a 400,000-signature petition at WGBH’s upcoming board meeting on Wednesday, October 1.