Wisconsin Public Television Swept Into Dust-Up Over Citizen Koch Documentary - Isthmus
I received a “please sign survey” request on fb from an organization called Watchdog.net regarding this issue and decided to googie-it. What do you think?
Carl Deal was thrilled to think his documentary on the role of corporate bigwigs in Wisconsin’s crackdown on public employee unions would air on public television.
“It was a really appropriate venue for how the money of a few can drown out the voices of the many,” says Deal, co-director of Citizen Koch, a film that critically examines the profusion of corporate cash in the political process, with an accompanying website that encourages an activist response.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum that public television provides. The Independent Television Service (ITVS), the arm of PBS that funds documentaries, withdrew its initial support.
That’s unleashed a whirlwind of controversy, including a recent article in The New Yorker and a skewering by the nation’s jester-in-chief, Stephen Colbert.
ITVS allegedly dropped Citizen Koch to avoid further aggravating billionaire industrialist David Koch, a major backer of both conservative causes and public TV. David and brother Charles Koch founded the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which along with the Kochs’ company is a major backer of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
David Koch has also given $23 million over the years to public television, The New Yorker reported. He served on the board of New York’s public television affiliate, WNET, to which he was planning to make, a source told the magazine, “a seven-figure donation — maybe more.”