Going private may not save Idaho public TV from right-wing attacks
Commentary by PAT MURPHY
No less an authority than Idaho Republican party chairman Trent Clark
describes the cranky claque of critics in the state Legislature who constantly carp about
Idaho Public Television programming.
Clark calls the lawmakers "nuts," and admits theyre
Republicans, but whom he disavows as representative of GOP attitudes about IPTV.
Now the beleaguered IPTV is considering "privatizing" itself to
escape mindless attacks by political right-wingers trying to impose suffocating moral and
However, IPTV managers, whove asked the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting for $80,000 to study converting the stations status, are naïve if they
believe Republicans that Clark described as "nuts" would abandon dogged attempts
to cleanse TV.
Even if IPTV unhooks its umbilical from the state treasury, whence it
receives 28 percent of its annual funding ($1.5 million), and decides to seek underwriting
in the private sector, the GOP "nuts" have other avenues to press their campaign
First, they could mount a relentless filibuster before the Federal
Communications Commission challenging IPTVs license by questioning fitness of IPTV
officers and directors and attacking its programmingin short, making life miserable
with exhausting, expensive and pointless legal warfare.
Second, they could wage war against commercial underwriters and sponsors
of the "privatized" station, attempting to humiliate corporations into
abandoning support of programming that the "nuts" believe doesnt meet
their test of moral and religious purity.
Third, just as the Southern Baptist Convention is attempting to do to
Disney because of its civil treatment of gay Americans, IPTV stalkers could appeal to
Idaho churches to boycott a privatized IPTV and its commercial supporters.
Fourth, the GOP critics could make IPTV a political issue by forcing
candidates for elective state, county and city offices to take a stand on whether they
support programming that includes topics such as homosexuality and other subjects that
Republican "nuts" find unpleasant.
"Privatizing" IPTV might well relieve the station of the annual
hardship of budget threats by Republican opponents in the Legislature.
But the obvious better, long-range solution for ridding IPTV and other
Idaho public institutions of attempts to turn back the clock is to replace them with men
and women who understand that enlightenment and learning is the objective in the 21st
century, not darkness and ignorance.
How cruel life is for Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler.
Its not just the jurys $6.3 million civil judgment that may
strip Butler of his Coeur dAlene holdings.
Now Butlers boasts that white Gentiles are superior to Jews and
blacks is in shambles.
A Jew is the Democratic vice presidential candidate. An African-American
woman is the Reform Partys veep choice. Multi-ethnic Tiger Woods has a new $100
million endorsement contract. Tennis is now dominated by the African-American Williams
Some of Americas best Olympians are black athletes. African
Americans are premiere stars of basketball and football. And Americas onetime symbol
of militant white supremacy, Selma, Ala., has just elected a black mayor.
How will Butler explain this to his racist disciples?
Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a
former radio commentator.