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Thursday, May 30, 2013

  • Did Public Television Commit Self-Censorship to Appease Billionaire Funder David Koch?

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    Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal say plans for their new documentary to air on public television have been quashed after billionaire Republican David Koch complained about the PBS broadcast of another film critical of him, "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream," by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Gibney. Lessin and Deal were in talks to broadcast their film, "Citizen Koch," on PBS until their agreement with the Independent Television Service fell through. The New Yorker reports the dropping of "Citizen Koch" may have been influenced by Koch’s response to Gibney’s film, which aired on PBS stations, including WNET in New York late last year. "Citizen Koch" tells the story of the landmark Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court that opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations. It focuses on the role of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity in backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has pushed to slash union rights while at the same time supporting tax breaks for large corporations. The controversy over Koch’s influence on PBS comes as rallies were held in 12 cities Wednesday to protest the possible sale of the Tribune newspaper chain, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, to Koch Industries, run by David Koch and his brother Charles.

  • As Lawmakers Target Food Stamp Funding, New Report Finds 1 in 6 in U.S. Are Going Hungry

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    As Republicans move to cut billions of dollars in funding for food stamps, a new report finds one in six Americans live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. In "Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States," the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law reports that of these 50 million people going hungry, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. The report comes as Congress is renegotiating the farm bill and proposing serious cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Millions of Americans currently rely on the program to feed themselves and their families. The report’s co-author, Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, joins us to discuss her findings and why she is calling on the U.S. government to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.

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