Both the US and British governments supported the rise of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Future Prime Minister Liz Truss had secret meetings with the future president in 2018 to discuss “free trade, free markets and post-Brexit opportunities” (BrasilWire, 3/25/20). The US Department of Justice was a crucial partner in the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) investigation, which resulted in the prosecution and jailing of Brazil’s left-leaning former president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. The politically motivated legal campaign against Lula served to prevent his participation in the 2018 presidential election, in what Gaspard Estrada calls “the biggest judicial scandal in Brazilian history.” Because of this history, and because Brazil is a hard country to explain concisely, I was weary to learn that the British and US state-affiliated media outlets BBC and PBS had co-released a documentary about Jair Bolsonaro only a few weeks before this year’s Brazilian presidential election (10/2–30/22). It didn’t fail to disappoint.
At Chicago’s Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) affiliate, WTTW (Window to the World), two dozen broadcast technicians have been on strike since March 16 in a battle to preserve their jobs and safeguard quality media production. The walkout marks the first work stoppage in the station’s 67-year history. The strikers — members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1220 — include camera operators, editors, graphic artists, lighting technicians and audio professionals who do the behind-the-scenes work producing local news and documentary programs for WTTW, including the nightly news broadcast Chicago Tonight. The union and management have been in contract negotiations since May of last year.
Last week, on August 12, 2021, CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin, Tighe Barry, Leonardo Flores, and Michelle Ellner delivered over 3,600 signatures from the public to Public Broadcasting Services' headquarters in Arlington, VA asking them to stop censoring the truth about China. Much to our disappointment, PBS, a PUBLIC broadcasting service, chose to call the police on these four peace activists members of the public, who were calmly and respectfully representing the opinions of the taxpayers — who fund PBS to the tune of over $26 million annually. The viewers who signed this petition are simply requesting that PBS honor its mission statement and values to “keep citizens informed on world events and cultures,” “express a diversity of perspectives,” and deliver content that is “responsive solely to the needs of the public—not to the interests of funders.”
Nearly 100 environmental activists protested outside WGBH’s Brighton studios yesterday calling for conservative billionaire David Koch’s ouster from the public broadcaster’s board of trustees. “I am here today because David Koch is a climate denier and ’GBH has scientific programs and he should have absolutely no influence on PBS and public broadcasting,” said Nate Goldshlag of Arlington. Some protesters dressed as Sesame Street characters Elmo, Big Bird and the Count joined the crowd. Dozens then packed the board of trustees meeting. A Herald videographer was not allowed to record the meeting, but Emily Southard of Forecast the Facts said that though they weren’t allowed to address the board, some protesters interrupted the meeting to complain about Koch’s involvement.