An eye-opening article in New Yorker magazine tells the story of how public television backed away from its commitment to fund a new documentary film titled "Citizen Koch." Readers learn that the politically meddlesome billionaire David Koch has given public television $23 million, and don't have to read between many lines to come to the understanding that public television cooled on the project in hopes of appeasing Koch.
It's always galling to see a news organization compromise its journalistic principles in the face of financial or political pressures. It's especially painful when you consider that the plan was to air the film on the PBS program "Independent Lens."
I know "Citizen Koch" well. I was interviewed at length for the project and appear in the film. It made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah at the beginning of the year and got its first screening in our state at last month's Wisconsin Film Festival.
With public television pulling out, the movie's producers have to find other ways to bring it to audiences. That's where you come in. You can watch the trailer and organize a screening in your community. While you're at it, you might consider contacting the PBS ombudsman who is billed as "as an independent internal critic within PBS (who) reviews commentary and criticism from viewers and seeks to ensure that PBS upholds its own standards of editorial integrity."