Jul 26, 2012

Group to present 100,000 signatures to APT to keep "Religious Right propaganda" off air

Faithful America, an online, multi-faith, social-issue advocacy organization, will deliver petitions with more than 100,000 signatures to Alabama Public Television headquarters in Birmingham at 11:15 a.m. Central today (July 26). The petitions from Faithful America and CREDO Action, a progressive advocacy group, demand that the network "keep Religious Right propaganda off their stations." APT Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, were fired by the Alabama Educational Television Commission on June 12, after Pizzato resisted running programs by conservative activist David Barton (Current, April 25).

"We need a strong turnout to show that people of faith are appalled by this attempted right-wing takeover of public television," an announcement of the Faithful America event says.

UPDATE: Faithful America said several Birmingham faith leaders took part in the event this morning as well as Mark Potok (right, at the station), senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. "David Barton is an extremist propagandist who regularly propagates known falsehoods, defames gay people, Muslims and others he doesn't like, and doesn't believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deserves a place in our high school textbooks," Potok told the gathering. "He is a man without integrity who is pursuing a radical-right agenda while trying to bamboozle the country into believing he is an objective commentator. And that is why he has no place on Alabama Public Television, which is meant to be an educational resource for all people, not just ideologues like David Barton."

And the Rev. Darryl Kiehl, a local Lutheran clergyman, said, “As a Christian and a pastor I have always trusted public television as a source of reliable information about history and culture. I’m disappointed that APT is even considering broadcasting David Barton’s slanted, misinformed history of America. Since our nation’s founding, Christians have fought for justice, equality and the common good, and Barton's work appears to ignore that. His revisionist history is unworthy of public television.” 

Pubradio WBHM reports that Charles Grantham, station c.o.o., accepted the petitions (right). Of some 114,000 names, around 3,500 came from within Alabama, the station reported. Grantham thanked the representatives for their support, and said the signatures would be delivered to the commission. Grantham also said there are no plans to run the Barton content.

Grantham sent a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley protesting the termination of Pizzato and his deputy, Pauline Howland, last week. (Photos: Faithful America.)

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