The Houston Press hit KUHF President John Proffitt for H.L. Mencken quotes he posted on his Facebook page.
The quotes — “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” and “In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican” — “confirm every fanatical right-wing zealot’s preconceptions of a public broadcasting muckety-muck,” wrote blogger John Nova Lomax, who advised Proffitt to reconsider. Think of how elitist statements brought down NPR fundraising chief Ron Schiller and his boss, former NPR prez Vivian Schiller, Lomax pointed out.
“After what happened to the two Schillers, posting those quotes seemed to us downright punk-rock, reckless as a raised middle finger to the whole entire world. We told Proffitt that we feared this blog item might be received ‘explosively’ in some quarters in this post-Schiller environment. . . . We believed he was making the rabid right’s case for them — that all those in power at public radio view all but the well-heeled, college-educated, classical-loving as slack-jawed, dull-eyed mo-rons.”
Profitt explained that he admired H.L. Mencken’s ascerbic commentary, but heeded Lomax’s warning. “I take your point,” Proffitt said. “I honestly did not follow that line of reasoning before.”
KUHF, which is planning a controversial signal expansion that will split its news and classical programming on two channels, is in its spring fundraiser.
I refuse to apologize for those comments. Because I didnt make them. That OTHER John Proffitt did it!
But seriously, when will the whole public media witch hunt end? So he posted some quotes. Big deal. So he appears left-of-center. Big whoop.
It’s not like the station cancelled Planned Parenthood spots out of political cowardice. Now THAT would be news-worthy.
I’m with the other John Proffit. The first John Proffit didn’t quote someone who said he was a Democrat, he quoted someone who said he wasn’t a Republican. There’s a big difference. The first statement is political. The second, for someone in public media, is just logical. If you were a devout Catholic and one of the political parties was dedicated to undermining your faithy, would it make sense for you to identify yourself with that party?
Don’t forget, though, that this is also the local alt-weekly unhappy about KUHF’s owners buying a big-signal college “free form” indie rock station and wanting to change its format to classical (and more aggressive in reporting on it than the rest of Houston’s media). Their interest in this is not defunding NPR but keeping a station they like on the air.