FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 16, 2012
Contact:[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””] Clete Wetli, Chair
Madison County Democratic Party
[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””] Cindi Branham, Communications
Madison County Democratic Party
Huntsville, AL, June 16, 2012— The Madison County Democratic Party announced its outrage over the firings of two top managers and subsequent resignations of additional top staff at Alabama Public Television after they expressed concerns about a series of videos that Alabama Educational Television Commission (AETC) commissioners insisted APT air.
The Madison County Democratic Party is calling for the resignation of the seven members of the AETC responsible for the firings and reinstatement of all staff and board who resigned in protest.
The AETC fired Executive Director Allan Pizzato and his deputy Pauline Howland last week. Their dismissal was announced following their refusal to air programming they believe was misaligned with the programming values of public television and a blatant misrepresentation of history.
The chair of the Alabama Educational Television Foundation and three board members have resigned in protest of the firings. AETC commissioners serve staggered 10-year terms, a provision that was intended to protect the state network from political meddling. However, this decision is clearly politically motivated, meddlesome and not in the best interests of the organization. Those responsible should be held accountable to the people of Alabama and resign.
“Republicans and tea party representatives don’t get to re-write history to suit their own political agendas. While some of our fore bearers may have been deeply religious people, they fought for religious freedom for all citizens and feared government’s intrusion into the religious practice of individuals. Our State elected officials and their political appointees are pushing their personal agendas at the expense of one of the core beliefs our country was founded upon: to include a very clear separation of church and state, There is plenty of room on the TV dial for religious programming, but not on state-supported stations. PBS and APT have always been for educational television, and the programming being pushed strays far from that mission.” said Clete Wetli, Chair of Madison County Democratic Party.
“As a party and individuals, we respect people’s beliefs – all of them – but this attempt to use a highly regarded and respected source of information to disseminate misinformation from evangelical minister and conservative activist groups is dangerous and contributes to the formation of an ill-informed electorate that is easily swayed by fear and hate-mongering rhetoric.
“We call on Governor Bentley to do the right thing: step forward and do whatever it takes to preserve the mission of public broadcasting in the State of Alabama.”
The Alabama and Madison County Democrats believe in the equality of all people, the power of education, the dignity of work, and our responsibility to each other, especially the least of these people. The Democratic Party of Madison County promotes and supports progressive ideals and candidates throughout our communities.
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