Joe Romm details the curious case of the Koch-funded influence on PBS’ Nova (and a Smithsonian exhibit on climate change and human evolution) in the context of the PBS Ombudsman’s response of, “Wha?”

But not PBS ombudsman Michael Getler.  He seems to have no trouble whatsoever with David Koch, a leading funder of the anti-scientific climate disinformation campaign (and the anti-science Tea Party), funding an episode of the great science show Nova, which:

  • is an effort to greenwash Koch’s activities
  • just happens to whitewash the threat human-caused global warming

Getler ignores the first concern entirely, and his entire defense of Nova’s dubious entanglement with Koch is “As a viewer of what strikes me and a lot of others as a consistently first-rate program, I trust NOVA.”  The beauty of that defense is that it could apply equally well to essentially every PBS show.  Hey, they are all first rate programs, so what the heck are you listeners complaining about?

It is becomes very difficult to navigate the morality of rich billionaires funding things you like, like museums and opera houses, at the same time they’re bankrolling nefarious schemes to muddy the water on global climate change. They know it’s tender conundrum and maybe that’s why support the arts – as a sort of protection racket for their own hobby horses and political affinities. This is either cynical of them, or me for thinking it – but you have to ask yourself it’s better to be aware of the poisoning of your favorite wells or just to keep on lapping it up because it’s always tasted so good. But just because it’s hard to discern doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it.

As an example, and a pretty good one because it’s ostensibly about the royal family and mostly beyond the realm of my caring, I read this article about phone hacking by the British tabloids and, the take away is the depths of the corruption of which the Murdoch News Group avails itself. The extent to which they are connected to Scotland Yard and can afford to settle with complainants (who then sign non-disclosure agreements) and/or simply hire former government officials is profound. The side story about how the new Conservative PM will embark on a campaign to de-fund Murdoch’s UK competitor, aka the BBC, is also handsome bit of roughtrade. But again, good to know and better even to acknowledge that this kind of corruption goes on and some/many view it as a perfectly proper way to do business using everything at their disposal. Now you can’t say we didn’t tell you.

On a side note, you just read the 501th post.