Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Backstory Of "A Brief History Of Disbelief"


Or why PBS is no longer relevant or needed in today's society as it was 30 years ago. ABHOD is a BBC documentary by Jonathan Miller who documents the roots of atheism and his own personal journey. PBS bought most of the U.S. rights, the rest to be shown on other tv stations.
PBS announced that ABHOD was going to be shown nationwide on May 4th, the 1st of a 3 part series. Bill Moyers Journal aired his show with guest Jonathan Miller, and also advertised this fact.
Well, May 4th came and went. My friends and colleagues were frantically e-mailing and phoning each other across the country, trying to find out what was going on.
I actually got in touch with one of the U.S. producer's of the film, and he told me that they were scratching their heads. They really didn't know what to say. ABHOD was already sold to PBS and their hands were tied at this point. I had already e-mailed my local NYC PBS stations, WLIW and WNET (WNET actually is PBS, they are one and the same). Before I even got a response I phoned WNET gearing up for an argument, but the woman I spoke to in programming told me that it was airing in July on the 15th, 22nd and 29th. I was happy, but sort of disconcerted at the same time. It turns out that they decided to move it to the middle of summer so as not to ruin their big spring donations drive.
And that's not all! In Oregon, it was shown - in the middle of the night. But worst of all, there are many states, especially the bible belt, that have not and probably will not show it at all.
Now I know that PBS corporate says it is not responsible for what it's affiliate stations decide to air or not to air, but I do believe that PBS sets the standards. And the affiliates should not be called Public Broadcasting Stations if they refuse to air relevant secular/theological programming.
But what can one expect from an organization whose former president was just fired for being openly pro evangelical christian? And if one goes to the PBS website and looks at the religion site, you won't find atheism or nontheism or religious tolerance towards nonbelievers. Not even secularism. Nothing, Nada!!! If today's PBS had any kind of backbone, any sense of their own history, wouldn't they realize that for many years, they were liberal television???
So think about that the next time you decide to donate to PBS!