Last night, as Mitt Romney gave his nomination speech at the RNC, Code Pink protesters trailed by Democracy Now! cameramen tried to shout Romney down. Video here. Breitbart story here. This is the ultimate offense in a week of similar stunts to disrupt the proceedings of the RNC.
The important part of this story, locally, is that WEDU, the flagship public television station in Tampa Bay, has been hosting Democracy Now! during the convention.
WEDU’s Vice President for Content, Jack Conely, told me in a phone conversation today that he unilaterally made the decision to air Democracy Now! as a special service to viewers during the RNC. He said he considers doing this a “nice courtesy” because of the local angle of their reporting this week. He added that WEDU “give[s] a platform to all sorts of different political programming.”
Well, no it doesn’t. And as far as the “local” angle goes, now they have made a nest for media activists who clearly knew in advance — and colluded in — an attempt to disrupt the speech of the Republican party’s candidate for president in the station’s hometown.
Mr. Conely needs to explain how the Democracy Now! deal came to pass. He also ought to apologize to the Republican Host Committee for getting his station entangled in such an ugly incident. And if he knew about the plans to disrupt the speech, he needs to resign. Remember, we’re paying this guy’s salary.
When the election rolls around, voters also need to remember that we’re paying for all this behavior by being forced to subsidize PBS. I wonder if there’s any connection between Mitt Romney’s announcement that he will cut off public funding for PBS and this puerile stunt. If so, it looks even worse for WEDU.
See Cliff Kincaid’s article about Romney and PBS here.