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PBS Self-Destructs


Last October, I watched as a passel of activists convened in front of WGBH, Boston’s public-television station. There were about three dozen of them on the concrete forecourt, many in matching T-shirts layered against the chill, but one middle-aged man wore a ministerial robe and clerical collar. Another activist of uncertain gender waved at passersby from the innards of an Elmo costume, which looked as though it had made one too many trips to the dry cleaners. WGBH employees, as well as cameramen and reporters on hand to cover the protest, weaved through the crowd.

The grassroots climate-change group Forecast the Facts had organized the rally as an attempt to expel David Koch from the station’s board of trustees. The members had collected and printed out 120,000 digital signatures and placed them in boxes, which they planned to present at that afternoon’s board meeting. (The trustees had already agreed to take delivery.) In the interim, they made brief speeches, mostly for the benefit of the reporters, since the studio’s location overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike precluded much in the way of foot traffic.

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is a contributing editor at The Baffler.

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