OK Gov Pulls Plug on PBS Funding: 'Indoctrination and Over-Sexualization of Our Children'
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Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is defending his decision to veto a bill that would have funded the Sooner State's Public Broadcasting Service affiliate for another three years. He says it's based on the "indoctrination and over-sexualization" of children in PBS television programs.
The governor maintains PBS's program content reveals its far-Left bias, including the promotion of the LGBTQ agenda.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Stitt also questioned why taxpayers should be funding the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) when it should be competing with stations and other media platforms in the private sector.
"OETA, to us, is an outdated system. You know, the big, big question is why are we spending taxpayer dollars to prop up or compete with the private sector and run television stations?" he asked.
"And then when you go through all of the programming that's happening and the indoctrination and over-sexualization of our children, it's just really problematic, and it doesn't line up with Oklahoma values," the second term governor explained.
Stitt's office provided examples of OETA content to Fox that it considers objectionable, including a segment of Let's Learn in which a children's book titled The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish was read by someone called Lil Miss Hot Mess.
The outlet reports the governor's office also pointed to a PBS Newshour feature on parents' support for various gender-altering treatments including puberty blockers, a gay character in Work It Out Wombats which airs on OETA, PBS Kids' Clifford the Big Red Dog introducing LGBTQ characters, a plethora of Pride Month programming on OETA, a special about a town of Christians and drag queens who "step into the spotlight to dismantle stereotypes," and a same-sex wedding featured on PBS Kids' Odd Squad.
Stitt has heard the voices of critics who have pushed back on the idea that such programs help indoctrinate children. But the governor also told Fox News he doesn't think the programs are very educational.
"When you think about educating kids, let's teach them to read and their numbers and counting and letters and those kinds of things," the Republican governor said. "I mean, some of the programming that we're seeing… it just doesn't need to be on public television."
"Oklahoma taxpayers are going, 'Hey, hang on, time out for just a second. That's not my values,'" he said. "I'm just tired of using taxpayer dollars for some person's agenda. I represent the taxpayers."
Unless the legislature overrides his veto, OETA would have to cease operations next year. The station's legal mandate to be Oklahoma's public broadcaster will expire on July 1 without legislative intervention, The Oklahoman reported.
According to the outlet, if an entity's sunset legislation isn't adopted before the expiration date, state law allows it to operate for one additional year.
"Although the OETA may have played a principal role in the provision of educational television services at one time, today the OETA's long-term, strategic value is at best unclear if not outright imagined," Stitt wrote in his veto message.
House Speaker Charles McCall said that his chamber eventually will look at overriding the veto but said passing the governor's tax and education plans are his priority.
"We have all kinds of time to talk about veto overrides, and we don't have as much time to get something done on education," McCall said.
Democrats in the very red state, including State Rep. Monroe Nichols (72nd District), accused the governor of mounting an attack on "public education and underrepresented Oklahoma communities," according to The Daily Wire.
Friends of OETA board member Ken Busby told KTUL-TV taxpayers should support the arts and culture.
Busby said PBS is an invaluable source of artistic, cultural, and historical programming that wouldn't find a home on other networks.
"No civilization since the Norman Conquest in 1066 has survived that did not support arts and culture," he claimed. "They're all gone. Civilization is about its culture, its history, and its arts."
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He also quoted some of OETA's viewership statistics.
"OETA is the most-watched PBS station in the country. Over 650,000 viewers a week are watching PBS in Oklahoma," Busby said.
Popular series on the PBS network include Sesame Street, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and Clifford the Big Red Dog.
CBN News has reached out to the OETA for comment. We'll post it here if we hear back.
PBS Has Repeatedly Injected LGBTQ Agenda in Children's Programming
As CBN News has reported over the last several years, PBS has repeatedly inserted the LGBTQ agenda into its programming geared toward children.
For example, several years ago when the animated PBS television series "Arthur" premiered the first episode of its 22nd season, to the surprise of some viewers, it was revealed that Arthur's teacher Mr. Ratburn is gay.
Then Arthur's friend Muffy asks "Who is Mr. Ratburn marrying?" That's when the group sees their teacher walking down the aisle next to another man.
Later, Arthur and his pals briefly discuss the wedding, and Francine tells her friends, "Yep, it's a brand new world," according to People Magazine.
This is not the first time the cartoon series has featured a gay character. In a 2005 episode from the spinoff series Postcards from Buster, Arthur's best friend meets several children who have two moms while on a trip to Vermont, TV Line reports.
The word "lesbian" was not used in the episode, but PBS later pulled the episode after receiving a letter from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings condemning the episode and asking PBS to "strongly consider" returning the federal money that went toward its production.
As CBN News reported in July of 2022, PBS Kids featured a same-sex wedding during an episode of the show Odd Squad.
The show, which is geared towards children ages 5-8 years old, is supposed to emphasize "problem-solving, teamwork, and perseverance in every strange and hilarious new assignment" while "using effective mathematical practices and critical mathematics concepts and skills to ultimately solve each case."
And two lesbian characters were introduced during an episode of the beloved children's show, Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Emily's friends bring their two moms to a dinner party during The Big Red Tomato/Dogbo episode.
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