"Citizen Koch", a documentary about money in politics focused on the Wisconsin uprising, was initially supposed to air as part of the PBS "Independent Lens" series. This film focuses on secret political spending by high-profile billionaires, like the Koch brothers, and how they are able to influence the political system through their concentrated wealth. However, the funding for "Citizen Koch" was removed in fear of offending billionaire David Koch, who has given $23 million to public television.
The PBS distributor "backed out of the partnership because they came to fear the reaction our film would provoke," said filmmakers Deal and Lessin in a statement. "David Koch, whose political activities are featured in the film, happens to be a public-television funder and a trustee of both [New York PBS member station] WNET and [Boston member station] WGBH. This wasn’t a failed negotiation or a divergence of visions; it was censorship, pure and simple.”
Deal and Lessin described the irony of the situation: “It’s the very thing our film is about—public servants bowing to pressures, direct or indirect, from high-dollar donors.”
PBS claims in its mission statement to be "America’s largest classroom... a trusted window to the world." Please stay true to your goals and fight the Koch's attempted censorship.
Individuals like the Kochs should not have the power to censor public television just because of their personal wealth. PBS claims in its mission statement to be "America’s largest classroom... a trusted window to the world." Now's the chance to stay true to those goals and fight the Koch's attempted censorship. Private money shouldn't have a say in public television.