The Not-so Flip Side of the Cohen

While Sacha Baron Cohen continues to ignite controversy around anti-Semite “Borat,” the serious side of anti-Semitism got an airing Monday night on PBS stations across the country -– but not Sacramento.

“Anti-Semitism In The 21st Century: The Resurgence” hosted by Judy Woodruff and produced, directed and written by Emmy-winner Andrew Goldberg was seen in 98 of the top 100 PBS stations. Sacramento’s KVIE, however, refused to air it. (Dallas is said to be setting a later air date).

New York’s WNET is already skedding a second airing (Jan 15 — 12:30 am). While the show has received critical praises, Sacramento’s KVIE President and General Manager David Hosley has decreed the show “not journalistically balanced.”

In an exchange of e-mails with Robin Michelle Rose Reardon, co-chair of the education and outreach committee of the Jewish Federation’s Israel Task Force—Sacramento, Hosley said he convened a group of KVIE board members and community leaders to see it “and the conclusion was that the program is uneven in its journalism, emotionally charged and could harm the efforts of many in our region to bring people of all faiths together to build a sense of community.” He said the viewing group included a rabbi, an imam, two professors, and two pastors.

I was unable to reach Hosley but spoke to Neal Woods, KVIE’s “customer service representative” who told me, “We called in program advisors and religious representatives and all responded that the program would not solve anything or change anyone’s mind and did not pass journalistic standards.”

Host Judy Woodruff reminds, “We live in a time of growing intolerance, especially religious intolerance and it is unsettling to see anti-Semitism on the rise once again. As a journalist, I am proud to be associated with this documentary which sheds light on a particularly troubling form of hateful behavior.”

Producer Goldberg reiterates, “We stand behind the journalistic accuracy of our show.” The Presenter of the film is Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Meanwhile, in Miami, Monday night, “I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life & Legend of Simon Wiesenthal” was screened at the Regal Theater. The film, a Moriah production, is narrated by Nicole Kidman, directed by Richard Trank and written/produced by Hier and Trank. It is rumored to have a Feb.11 screening date at the Berlin Film Fest. Moriah Fims also produced “Ever Again” about the rebirth of anti-Semitism.

The PBS film reminds: anti-Semitic acts of violence have almost doubled since the 1990s. Don’t tell anyone in Sacramento.

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