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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year Alums!

In the spirit of "The Family of Man," a joyous, happy and healthy New Year to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

WGBH Responds to my letter requesting David Koch be removed from the Board

Dear Nat,

Thank you for writing to share your views about David Koch. Susan Ulbrich shared your letter with Henry Becton and Jon Abbott, and I am responding on their behalf. We appreciate hearing from ‘GBH alums on all topics of interest.

As I’m sure you know from your years here, we uphold strict standards and safeguards for our editorial content. Trustees do not have a role overseeing any WGBH programming, and donors/funders have no involvement with the editorial content of programs.

In our programming we do not take positions on the activities and beliefs of others; we air a full spectrum of topics and perspectives, allowing our viewers and listeners to reach their own conclusions. In the same way, we do not require a uniformity of belief among our Trustees.

So in keeping with that approach, David Koch will continue as a member of the Board. Over more than a decade, in a dozen documentaries and investigative reports, WGBH has presented the science and facts about climate change in our award winning documentary series NOVA and Frontline, as well as on the Living Lab radio reports on WGBH News.

We will continue to cover the full dimensions of this topic.

We appreciate and respect your views, and value the exchange of ideas that comes from open expression with others.

Again, thank you for taking the time to be in touch.

Best, Jeanne -- Jeanne Hopkins VP, Communications & Government Relations WGBH Boston Office 617.300.4363 Cell 617.417.1383

My response to WGBH Board Letter Reply

In its heyday, WGBH functioned under a system reminiscent of enlightened absolutism, or benevolent despotism. This worked very well for some of us who believed we had talent and a voice to express that energy. In olden times, we got away with murder (you know who you are) and thus a whole lot of wonderful things happened at 125 Western Avenue.

Then came the Reformation (I recall arguing with Hartford Gunn about this before he left for DC) and having similar discussions with Fred Friendly and James Day in New York after the Huns had moved in to WGBH (around 1980)

Inevitably, benevolent academicians were replaced by uncaring big business as WGBH and PBS became irrevocably corporate. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that David Koch weaseled his way onto the boards at WNET and now at WGBH where, alas, he has found his happy home.

The End

Some Light reading:
PBS – Behind the Scenes by Laurence Jarvik
The Vanishing Vision – The Inside Story of Public Television by James Day
NPR by Michael P. McCauley