Did Alabama Public Television fire executives over David Barton’s videos?

Maybe.

Two executives, Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howard, were fired with no reason given on Tuesday. One of those fired gave no specific reason but another provided a hypothesis:

Howland, deputy director and chief financial officer, described the firings in an interview with Current and said she was “baffled” by the dismissals. But she also recalled how Pizzato had asked staff in April for advice about a series of videos that AETC commissioners wanted APT to air.

The videos featured David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist whose publications and media appearances promote his theories about the religious intentions of America’s founders. He frequently appears on political commentary programs hosted by conservative Glenn Beck.

The American Heritage Series, a 10-part DVD series offered by Barton’s Texas-based organization WallBuilders LLC, “presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, emphasizing the moral, religious and constitutional foundation on which America was built.” Christian broadcast networks Cornerstone Television and Trinity Broadcasting Networks air the series, according to the website.

No word from AL PT if they will now air the videos, but I suspect many will be watching to see if they do. The DVD series is where Barton claims that Jefferson founded the Virginia Bible Society along with many claims that just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Ht – Rob Boston.

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  • Bernie

    Religious fascism at it’s worst.

  • ken

    I found the reason Pizzato didn’t want to air them interesting:

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

    The article doesn’t say anything about the accuracy of the DVDs.

  • Lori Cummings

    He was not fired for this…get your facts straight before you write…

    J Chris Cochran (friends with Hank Sanders) commented on a link:

    J Chris wrote: “Don’t know if this is any help but… Rodney Herring returned my call from his office in Opelika. He seemed polite and responsive to my questions. He stated that the “managerial decision” (i.e., the discussions as to whether they would terminate Allen Pizzato and Pauline Howland) was placed on the board’s agenda ahead of Pizzato’s response as to whether APT would air “Wall-builders,” a controversial pseudo-historical series featuring David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist who consistently promotes his revisionist theories about the religious/Christian intentions of America’s founders. Herring claims that, based on the board’s pre-set agenda and the subsequent timing of the board’s decision to terminate Pizzato and Howland, he did not know that Pizzazo had refused to air the Wall-builders series out of a concern that airing it would violate APT’s charter. Herring, a Republican Party official and GOP donor, did not deny submitting the controversial series for broadcasting consideration; he did, however, flatly deny that the decision to terminate Pizzato and Howland was based on their decision not to air the Wall-builder’s series, stating instead that the decision to terminate Pizzato and “the other employee” was simply a “change in direction in management.” Herring stated that the 7 member board “voted 5 to 2 to make the change.” Herring added that “Ferris [Stephens] would be the best person [on the Board] to articulate the various reasons for the desired change in management.” Herring concluded by stating that the employees “were thanked for their service” but that “you can’t do all things for all people.””

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

      Ms. Cummings – People deny doing things all the time. I do not accept one person’s word on a blog comment where you haven’t even provided a link. Besides, I questioned the motive, I did not say they were fired because they wouldn’t play Barton’s video series. In any case, you have one person who was fired saying one thing and the person who did the firing saying another. Why do you accept one person versus another?

  • ken

    It is also possible the firings were not specifically about the Barton videos, but rather to send a broader message that when the board submits something to be aired, that it is not a “suggestion.”

  • James Ferguson

    The most insidious thing about this are the denials. I’m sure they found someone who will air the Barton videos, then what will be their explanation?

  • Lori Cummings

    Here’s a link with the minutes: Now…show me where it was because of the series… http://www.wbhm.org/News/2012/APTdocuments.html

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren Throckmorton
  • ken

    Lori Cummings says:

    June 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    “Here’s a link with the minutes: Now…show me where it was because of the series…”

    It doesn’t say anything in the minutes because the decision was made in the executive meeting (for which there are no minutes and generally such meetings are closed). You’ll note in the June 12 minutes right after the discussion about “balanced review” and “mission statement” Herring called for an executive meeting. Right after the executive meeting the board came out and decided they needed a new management. Which was the point Warren was making.

  • Daniel Bailey

    Ms. Cummings failed to mention that she used to work for APT, and her contract was not renewed. Nothing she has posted here is true. The news reports of the reasons for the situation at APT are accurate.


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