Monday, May 12, 2008

Plunkett cartoon captured the hypocrisy of WOUB officials

To the Editor [of the Athens News]:

Kudos to Sandy Plunkett for a terrific political cartoon in the May 1 Athens NEWS distilling the hypocrisy of WOUB’s refusal to carry “Democracy Now” while OU shamelessly gushes over Fox News President Roger Ailes’ gift of media equipment to his alma mater.

In dismissing the outpouring of regional requests for WOUB to carry DN, officials have publicly said very little except (as the cartoon depicts) suggesting that the requested show is “biased.”

Yet OU has fawningly kowtowed to what journalists generally acknowledge is the most slanted large news organization in the nation. Incredibly, they’ve actually christened the upgraded studio in the name of the right-wing FOX honcho.

Internal documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that communications among OU and WOUB officials cited a total of one WOUB viewer threatening to withhold support if “Democracy Now” hits the local airwaves. The show in question does play on PBS/NPR affiliates elsewhere and reportedly results in more, not fewer, contributions to these public stations.

With the recent opening of several digital channels broadcast by WOUB, there’s plenty of airtime available for the inclusion of the award-winning “Democracy Now” program.

Yes, there is bias contained in this continuing controversy. And it’s clearly on the side of WOUB/OU management. It’s past time that changes.

Michael Barr
Gilham Road