Why cut Public TV when you can just ruin it?

Alabama Public TV Execs Fired For Not Loving Made-Up Christian History Show

Also, Bill Moyers is a Commie

The board that oversees Alabama’s Public TV network has fired two top managers who, for some crazy reason, didn’t want to go along with board members’ innovative programming idea to air a 10-part revisionist history of the US produced by renowned fake historian David Barton. After news of the June 12 firings broke, four members of the Alabama Educational Television Foundation Authority, which raises funds for Public TV in the state, resigned in protest. No word yet on whether the network will now start replacing fundraising tote bags with Praise Pouches.

According to public media blog Current, no specific reason was given by the board for firing Alabama Public TV’s director Allan Pizzato and deputy director and chief financial officer Pauline Howard. Pizzato diplomatically cited “irreconcilable difference in opinion of the future direction of the station,” but the likely reason is that the two executives objected to the board’s desire to air The American Heritage Series, a series produced by Wall Builders, the fundamentalist group that Barton has formed to tell Americans the “real” history of America, in which the Founders were all Christians, the Constitution doesn’t separate church and state, and Thomas Jefferson had a total boner for theocracy.

The programming change was pushed by Alabama Educational Television Commissioner Rodney Herring, a chiropractor who was appointed to the AETC in 2011 by Gov. Bob Riley (who is — surprise! — a Republican). Mr. Herring is not especially worried about Public TV airing programming that has previously appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network. “The material is appropriate for public television according to the attorneys we have consulted,” Herring told the AP “[But] there will be no change in Alabama Public Television programming … for at least two or three months.” So maybe right before the election, they’ll start carrying programming from a group whose website calls Barack Obama “America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President.” How could anyone read any untoward motives into that? Then again, it’s Alabama, so maybe that’s a centrist perspective.

In response to the firings, the local Democratic Party has called for the resignations of all seven members of the AETC. Clete Wetli, chair of the Madison County Democratic Party, said:

“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… There is plenty of room on the TV dial for religious programming, but not on state-supported stations.

Grammar Nazi time: Yeah, yeah, “forebears” is more correcter. But let’s not be pedantic. Also, we really like saying “Clete Wetli” over and over. Clete Wetli.

In any case, Alabama Public TV may as well start running Barton’s crappy fake history programming, because there’s not much left to the network anyway. Current notes, with an almost-audible sigh, that APT’s “state appropriation has dropped 50 percent since 2008″ and that the network has “shut its state capital bureau, suspended production of its political roundtable, Capitol Journal, and laid off 19 staffers” in addition to other operations and program cutbacks. It’s probably just about small enough to drown in a bathtub.

About the author

Doktor Zoom Is the pseudonym of Marty Kelley, who lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his nym from a fan of Silver-Age comics after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom
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    1. mavenmaven

      They were dinosaurs sent by Thor, who Jesus dispatched when he rose up from underneath George Washington's boat. The coolest part was when Jesus got Thor in a headlock and took his hammer away, which was then ironically (because these are Marvel comics, rather than DC) used to drive in the nails at the crucifixion.

      1. GhostBuggy

        If it was a DC Comic, the Spectre would have risen up with Jesus from the Potomac and killed Thor in a spectacularly gruesome manner. And then the Anti-Monitor would restore Alabama's public TV funding, thereby rebooting everything.

    1. Boojum

      Why, yes. Actually, it is "Alabama Eats The Cock, Inc.", but you are substantially correct.

    1. sewollef

      It's called balance fer god's sake.

      After PBS puts on its communist shows, like Antiques Roadshow and Nature there has to be counter-balanced programming.

      Stands to reason.

  1. noodlesalad

    Inaccurate portrayals of the Deist enlightenment-era philosophy that informed the Founding Fathers on public television pisses me off. Hilarious names like Clete Wetli do cushion the blow, however, so I owe the south some thanks.

  2. Schmannnity

    "Thomas Jefferson had a total boner for theocracy." Was Theocracy his nickname for Sally Hemmings?

    1. Fare la Volpe

      He was heard to yell "Oh God, Oh God, Oh God, JESUS CHRIST" whenever he was with her.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      So long as it explains that God let the Holocaust happen so the Jews could get Israel back and allow the end-times to begin.

  3. Shypixel

    I thought everybody knew that the Bible was originally a part of the constitution, until Hitler came back on his time-travelling Dinosaur, which had missed Noah's Ark, and forced the Founding Fathers to remove it, and to put in the part about religion.

    But seriously… We laughed when they started to take over the radio waves 20-30 years ago too…

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Srsly, Barton claims that because the Constitution includes the line "Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth,” that means that the Constitution incorporates the Declaration of Independence (with its "Creator" reference) into the Constitution itself, therefore the Constitution is all about God being at the core of the law.

      Because the Founders forgot to mention God directly in the text, you know.

  4. Steverino247

    The only good thing about Madison County Alabama is my older son was conceived there.

    OK, so Wernher von Braun did some rocket stuff there, too. Big deal.

    1. sewollef

      Oh, Wernher Magnus Maximilian Freiherr von Braun….. that old Nazi party member?

      I thought they all escaped to Argentina or Brasil? I didn't know Alabama was considered a haven for runaway nazis. Makes sense though.

      1. Generation[redacted]

        Let this be a lesson to you kids. If you don't learn your rocket science, then after the world stops your genocide you'll have to escape to South America instead of getting a cushy job with the U.S. government.

        Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!

  5. actor212

    I can almost hear the remaining board members…

    "Say, you know how we could close the budget gap? Well, I bet if we could get companies to pony up some moneys in exchange for letting them put short programs on air with us, you know, to maybe provide bathroom breaks for people watching our 'Christian History of the United States'! Stick 'em right in the program!"

  6. Estproph

    More interesting historical facts from David Barton:

    Jesus Christ was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence!

    Galileo Galilei was wrong! There is no such thing as gravity! Angels hold us all to the earth!

    God made blah people's hair short and curly so that it could be used as a buff when they shine shoes!

    All science is based on witchcraft!

    1. YasserArraFeck

      There is no such thing as gravity! Angels hold us all to the earth!

      "In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Velcro….."

      1. Generation[redacted]

        Intelligent Falling is a perfectly good scientific theory, which simply raises questions about this so-called Gravity. Teach the controversy!

    1. Biff

      I think they need to start their own new channel, something like just Fy–not much Sy involved.

    1. DahBoner

      I've NEVER met Christian wackadoodle who wouldn't lie directly to my face, and be proud of it.

  7. BaldarTFlagass

    "four members of the Alabama Educational Television Foundation Authority, which raises funds for Public TV in the state, resigned in protest."

    I thought FakaktaSouth was the only liberal in Alabama.

  8. Antispandex

    “Republicans and tea party representatives don’t get to re-write history to suit their own political agendas….."

    Until AFTER Mitt is elected. Then, it's "home school for everyone", because the truth is just whatever you learn in school, plus the stuff you see on Pat Robertson's network. Besides, everyone knows the story of how the first thing the founders did was to jail all the dirty Jues and Muslins…it's in the Constitution.

    1. MumbletyRadio

      Stories with "characters' names like that practially write themselves… but I'm glad we reap the amusement that results when you're the one with the poison pencil, Doc~

  9. randcoolcatdaddy

    Our hearts go out to you, Alabama. North Carolina public tv viewers have suffered through fawning programs on Billy Graham and Jesse Helms for years on UNC-TV.

  10. ManchuCandidate

    Only 200 years of scholarly study vs what one fundie believes.

    Someone should demand that Lord of the Rings is actually the true story of how the US Amercia constitution was created. Frodo was really Thomas Jefferson and that they all lusted for Gold. I'm sure there are some emotionally shattered Paultards who would love to do that as they got nuttin better to do.

    1. Antispandex

      Well just in the one real big city. You have to have it, even though it was invented by the devil, if you want to keep / have a cement pond.

    1. DeathOfIrony

      coming from NC, I have to resist snarking on Alabama too much…I feel bad for the human beings that also inhabit places like Alabama, Arizona, Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

      My question remains…what the fuck is going on? Are we really at least 51% insane and bat-shit crazy? Are we outnumbered by bass-ackwards idiots in this country? I used to be an optimist, but rapidly descending into a morose, pessimistic rage.

      Alabama has Muscle Shoals, and some sweet soul music, so all hope is not lost.

  11. Joshua Norton

    Please make this happen. Pleasepleaseplease. It'll make "Cop Rock" look like "Citizen Kane."

    This doesn't just have FAIL written all over it, it's actually in the shape of the word "FAIL," made up of thousands of tiny little FAILs.


    1. Generation[redacted]

      Everybody jumps on the Firefly bandwagon, but no one wants to sign my "Bring back Cop Rock" petition.

  12. jjdaddyo


  13. Wilcoxyz

    You think Alabama's got problems putting this on public television? In Louisiana, a TV and the dvd box set makes your living room an eligible-for-state-funding charter school.

  14. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    Watching David Barton appear twice on The Daily Show made me love Jon Stewart all the more. "Here, I'll give you an avenue for your crazy, because you sure won't get the boot in your ass on the Jimmy Swaggart Praise Hour."

    1. Generation[redacted]

      The problem with America's education system, is that it is slightly out of alignment. But if you come for an adjustment twice a week for the rest of your life…

      Chiropractors have some funny ideas about how the human muscular skeletal structure evolved, also. Too.

      1. Guppy

        The problem with America's education system, is that it is slightly out of alignment. But if you come for an adjustment twice a week for the rest of your life…

        Wait… he's an orthodontist?

    2. RayneMan

      Well, that just means he already has experience bamboozling the American public.

      It looks great on a resume, ya know…

      "Professional Bamboozler"

      Bam. Boozle. 'scuze me…I just fell in love with a word…..

      *wanders off*

  15. SayItWithWookies

    Too bad there's not some way to frighten Alabamians into believing that their eternal home in the afterlife is determined by a round of Jeopardy based entirely on facts. But then again, once you leave your public television to those in the chiropractic profession, you're already a good ways down the road to crazy.

  16. mavenmaven

    I suppose the theocrats know as much about history as a chiropractor does about molecular biology.

  17. Eve8Apples

    Coming soon to Alabama Public Television, America's storyteller Ken Burns channels his inner porn producer with his stunning 12 part series, "Thomas Jefferson had a Total Boner for Theocracy" with generous support by Trojan condoms and Viagra.

  18. Urban_Achiever

    I dunno about this American Heritage Series, but I'd sure like to watch a program about that dude who brought such fine works of art to life, like "Jesus creating the Constitution," "Obama Trampling the Constitution," or my personal favorite, "Obama Burning the Constitution"–make that happen Barton!!

  19. qwerty42

    Kind of sad for the folks in Alabamy who aren't into teh krazy. Right now, though, they don't control the gov't there. Their only hope is that the fever breaks soon.

      1. qwerty42

        This seems to be an infection of the white population. Perhaps correlated with age. Some skin pigmentation may (I stress 'may') confer some resistance (but probably not immunity). Might want to notify the CDC.

  20. Naked_Bunny

    Alabamans don't need egghead PBS shows like Workplace Essential Skills, Barney and Friends, or, I dunno, Jersey Shore. Jerry Springer is still on, y'know.

  21. Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    On the Wallbuilders site (what a great name for a bunch of Christian separatists. How soon before it's built, assholes?), Barton lists from February of this year that "The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion."

    When I read the (biased) news article that referred to this change in policy, it was kind enough to admit a) that the forgiveness doesn't occur to groups engaged in "religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing", and b) there's no forgiveness for "a labor union or a partisan political organization"

    shorter: "No soliciting." Is that really that fucking much to ask, you revisionist asshole?

  22. sewollef

    Think of it this way… if there wasn't a Texas, or an Alabama, or a Mississippi or an Arizona, we'd have to invent them.

  23. elviouslyqueer

    I never thought I'd see the day when Alabama would out-Mississippi Mississippi. Bless their hearts.

  24. GhostBuggy

    "The programming change was pushed by Alabama Educational Television Commissioner Rodney Herring, a chiropractor who was appointed to the AETC in 2011 by Gov. Bob Riley (who is — surprise! — a Republican)."

    A chiropractor involved in something completely made-up and nonsensical? I am shocked and appalled.

  25. Larry McAwful

    I hope they air a special explaining how Noah's Ark almost foundered in the Erie Canal, but was saved through the faith of its captain. Teach the controversy!

  26. Nostrildamus

    This country's proud "four bears" were probably Washington, Franklin, Adams & Hancock.
    Hamilton was more of a twink.

  27. chascates

    Wait a minutez! I was told all PBS is communist propaganda designed to destroy America from within. I haz a cognitive dissonance.

  28. outragedcitizen

    This is another example of why it is time that we acknowledge that Lincoln was wrong. The Southern states should be allowed to secede. In fact, they should be encouraged to do so.

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Allow them to secede, and divert our entire military budget toward arming the slaves with gunship helicopters and hellfire missiles.

  29. Larry McAwful

    Oh, I dunno. If they air more programming like this, then I'd say destruction is coming faster than we thought.

  30. HELisforHEL

    Dear Doktor Zoom,
    If it was possible to up-fist the post proper, I would so be doing that right now.

  31. TribecaMike

    Also on Alabama Public TV, NOVA has been replaced by Veggie Tales and Sesame Street by Mike Huckabee's radio show.

  32. TribecaMike

    Does this mean WAIQ in Montgomery won't be showing their annual Russ Meyer Film Festival?

  33. viennawoods13

    A friend of mine grew up in Alabama, in an upper-class suburb. Until she moved to California in her mid-twenties, she didn't know that gun racks weren't standard equipment on pickup trucks.

  34. TribecaMike

    This week on Masterpiece Mystery, Inspector Lewis attempts to solve the case of "Who The Fuck Let This Happen?"

  35. sewollef

    "And then we can nuke the fuckers from space, just to be sure their DNA doesn't spread to higher life forms. "

    I'd call that the Dream Act.

  36. Generation[redacted]

    If you came to this country as a child, studied hard in school, got an education, and never got arrested, then yes you can push the big red button.

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