Alabama Public Television Executives Fired Because They Didn’t Want to Air Videos by Pseudo-Historian David Barton

Sometimes you read stories and they magnify every stereotype you have about the South…

The Alabama Educational Television Commission (AETC) oversees Alabama Public Television (APT). Recently, AETC Commissioner Rodney Herring told APT executives that they should air The American Heritage Series, a 10-episode program featuring Christian pseudo-historian David Barton.

Two of the APT executives, Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland, questioned that decision:

The programs “talked about how our government forefathers were very religious men,” Howland said, “how the country was founded on religious principles, and how we need to go back to that.” The content “was very much advocating that position,” she said.

Pizzato and his staff had “grave concerns” that the videos were inappropriate for public broadcasting due to their religious nature, Howland said.

It’s not only a matter of miseducation. Religious programming is not allowed on public television and there was a risk of losing their license:

“It’s our job to protect the license,” Howland said, “and provide the best advice we can to the commission, whose members are usually not broadcasters.”

Sounds like Pizzato and Howland were offering good advice, considering that Barton’s organization, WallBuilders, minces no words in talking about its religious mission:

WallBuilders’ goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.

It didn’t matter. Pizzato and Howland were fired on Tuesday.

Alabama: Where even public television can’t escape misinformation campaigns by religious extremists.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Louisdeliyannis

    and this is how you keep people stupid…..shame on AETC!

    • Annie

      Unfortunately, they are probably hanging a “Mission Accomplished” banner as we type. 

  • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

    That is absolutely outrageous. Anyone know who could be called/E-mailed/otherwise contacted to voice a complaint about these firings?

    • Randy605

      The FCC would be a good place to start – ask them who you can contact.  I’m planning to do so as well. 

  • http://twitter.com/moother moother

    waaaaaaaahahahaha…, my god i’m glad i don’t live in the south because this story gave me the screaming giggles…

    if i lived in the south i’d cry.

    • Vision_From_Afar

      …I did. Then I sent an angry, angry letter to APT.

  • Johnd Hughes

    Who do we call to get them sued and fined into compliance?

    • Gates

      Godbusters

  • Suzanne Willis

    Contact information for Alabama Public Television:

    http://www.aptv.org/Contact/email.asp 

    • Annie

      I think it is the AETC that should be contacted, since they are the ones that made the decision.  The poor administrator of the APT page on Facebook is getting swamped with complaints, but patiently explaining to everyone that this decision was made by the AETC.

  • Spherical Basterd

    I live in South Florida and I wondered what that loud THUNK was the other day; it was the collective IQ of Alabama hitting the bottom of the empty gene pool.

    • Metrostation0000

       why dont u go back to cuba u pos

    • Neil

      A loud THUNK?  I believe for these folks, “thunk” is the past tense of “think” and sounds very much like a large elimination hitting toilet water.   “THUNK!”

  • Chris Kilroy

    As an Alabamian, I cannot say that I am surprised in the least. Saddened but not surprised. 

  • John Purcell

    I think we’re watching the slow demise of the PBS that we grew up on. Religious theocrats and politicians don’t like the perceived liberality of public programming, even though they are generally fair to all viewpoints and positions.

    The problem is not that they are liberal, but that, as Colbert says, reality has a liberal bias.

    • Randy605

      I know Colbert is a commedian but truer words were never spoken, reality indeed has a liberal bias – its why we’re liberals. 

  • Corey

    god damn liberal pbs……there so anti christian pro socialist….this just proves ….. wait a minute…..i got that all wrong (lol)

  • tracy88

    Suzanne Willis:  Thanks for the contact info, I will be writing a scathing note forthwith!

  • Richard Lucas

    I’m really saddened by this but, having lived in the south for most of my life find it to be oh so typical.  Thankfully, actions like this are now getting national coverage.  The days when this would remain a local non issue are long gone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000418580709 Morgan Sheridan

    I hope the FCC yanks their broadcast license(s) and the IRS yanks their 501(c)3 status as well.

  • Killersusie

    I wish I lived in a different country… this religious nuts are outdoing themselves every day!

  • kaydenpat

    I thought the Right hated PBS since it receives public funding.  Now they’re trying to spread their lies on it. 

  • Randy605

    Well we’ll be hearing that Jesus loves us all and We’re all going to Hell soon.  Funny, I thought once I became an adult I no longer had to hear this venom.  Go ahead Alabama, keep reminding me that I’m going to move out of the SouthEast in only 3 years when I can finally retire. 

  • cipher

    There’s a petition on Credo: http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/public_tv_al/?p=public_tv_al&r=6905043&id=42592-1560708-iKxlKyx

    The fundie cretins have their own networks – Fox, CBN, TBN. PBS is our last bastion; they can stay the fuck out of it.

    Alabama – why am I not surprised? Nothing good comes out of the deep South. Never has, never will. If there is a good argument for allowing Alabama and Mississippi to retain statehood, I have yet to hear it.

    I cannot get over the fact that while my ancestors were running from cossacks, most of yours were fighting a war to keep these people.


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