One of our most cherished freedoms is freely electing our political leadership;
and with that freedom comes responsibility to make an informed decision. Flipping a coin or making an
uninformed choice is probably as bad as standing on the sidelines and not participating at all. But, how do
we get informed?
Once again federal funding for Public Broadcasting is threatened, and the threat is more
serious than ever before. Last month the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations
Subcommittee (Labor-HHS-Education) passed out of subcommittee a bill that, if signed into law, would phase out federal
support of the public broadcasting system. Over a three year period, funding would be totally eliminated, threatening
the very existence of many stations in markets the size of ours.
There are always the pundits that appear on the 24-hour cycle cable news shows, some noted
for their opinionated showmanship rather than acquaintance with facts and balance. There are columnists, blogs, and
the ubiquitous water cooler conversations that tell you who to hate and who to be afraid of, as well as your
brother-in-law, barber, and best friend. But again, where do you find accurate information that does more than just
reinforce your traditional thinking; information that actually challenges your brain and gives you the information
you need to make that informed decision? I submit to you that that place is public television.
We have worked hard over the years to be apolitical, that is, not to favor the red or
the blue, one party over another, one candidate over the other. We have worked hard to essentially be perceived
as “Switzerland” i.e. an entity that serves all by providing equal time, equal exposure and unbiased reporting. We
ask you to think, but do not tell you what to think.
As part of our effort to inform the voters in Central Illinois, WTVP is pleased to
host two debates in our studio this month. First, on Thursday, October 18, the candidates for the 46th Illinois
Senate seat, incumbent David Koehler (D) and challenger Patrick Sullivan (R), will share their views on local
and statewide issues.
Then on Thursday, October 25, the two candidates for one of the most closely contested
and closely watched Congressional races will square off. Incumbent Bobby Schilling (R) and challenger Cheri Bustos
(D), share their views on issues facing residents of the new Illinois 17th District.
Both debates begin at 8:00 p.m., and will be moderated by WTVP’s H Wayne Wilson. You
can participate by forwarding your questions in advance to our special debate site on
www.wtvp.org. The issues in play this November make
this one of the most important elections in years. Please tune in and listen to the candidates directly and use their
direct words, not spin, to inform your decision. Then, by all means, go to the polls on November 6 and make yours an