Dear WBUR underwriter,
We are writing to you about your freedom to sponsor, and not to sponsor WBUR. Your fellow WBUR sponsor Hillel Stavis who owns Wordsworth Books in Harvard Square in Cambridge decided to cancel his sponsorship. Hillel decided to do this because he believes that WBUR has pro-Palestinian bias in its coverage of the Middle East.
But this letter is not about the Middle East, Hillel's, yours or ours political views. This letter is about freedom. Today a group of protesters is picketing and boycotting Wordsworth Books trying to disrupt its business. They demand that Hillel continues his sponsorship of WBUR. This is correct -- they are demanding that Hillel gives his money to their favorite media outlet. Of course the use of external pressure while demanding money has a name -- it is called extortion. And that is exactly what is taking place on Harvard Square.
Unfortunately the station is uncharacteristically silent about the story which is taking place a few miles across the river from its headquarters. And this even after the Boston Globe and the Harvard Crimson covered the story. Is WBUR an incompetent news organization to the extent of missing a story about itself? Or are they silent participants in the extortion and are sending a message to all their underwriters -- pay up, or else.
We have contacted WBUR and asked them to state their position to the Wordsworth Books picketing. We got the following reply from WBUR's spokesman Mary Stohn: "WBUR has nothing to do with the leafleting in front of Wordsworth. I think you need to direct your concerns to the groups involved". That's it - they have no position on this issue, and they don't want to be involved.
Please call the station and ask them to state their position and to call off the extortionists from the business of their sponsor, even if it is a former one. Because if your remain silent today, when one group of protesters is disrupting Hillel's business, tomorrow another group will come to you and nobody will be there to protect you. The freedom to donate your money to your favorite charity is a great freedom. It can be enjoyed fully only when it is free from extortion. Please protect your freedom, call WBUR today, explain to them that sponsorship should not be confused with the protection racquet.
Boston Globe: "WordsWorth targeted for WBUR funding boycott"
Harvard Crimson:
Protest Targets Wordsworth
Bookstore owner criticized for pulling sponsorship of WBUR
Boston Phoenix:
Hillel Stavisís protesters are missing the point