Well, apparently when you live in Pittsburgh. The local NPR affiliate here created a firestorm last week when it pulled underwriting announcements by Planned Parenthood from the air and returned the organization’s $5,300 underwriting gift. Why would any struggling public radio station turn down a $5,300 gift over totally uncontroversial underwriting announcements? Because Pittsburgh’s NPR affiliate, WDUQ, is owned by Duquesne University, a Catholic university. According to WDUQ spokeswoman Bridget Fare, the gift was returned because “Planned Parenthood is not aligned with the university’s Catholic mission and identity.”
Many local NPR supporters were outraged by the censorship of the underwriting announcements and the decision is starting to cost WDUQ. “Duquesne University’s WDUQ pulled Planned Parenthood underwriting because of their message of abstinence, prevention and teen self-esteem,” said Margot Callahan of Mount Washington. “So, I pulled my dollar-a-day pledge during their fund drive.” State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill) also weighed in, saying “I call on Duquesne University to respect the editorial independence of WDUQ. Any other decision would harm the station and the community.”
It makes you wonder if WDUQ will start turning down individual donations from Jews, Baptists, Presbyterians, Wiccans, atheists and so on. Wouldn’t it be funny if people started calling in to the pledge drive and telling WDUQ how much money they would have given if only they were good Catholics whose donations the sanctimonious University leadership could accept?
Interestingly enough, WDUQ accepts corporate underwriting money from Reproductive Health Specialists, a clinic which performs in vitro fertilization; a procedure the Catholic Church condemns as a “gravely evil act.” Perhaps Duquesne’s censorship of Planned Parenthood is more about being offended that women have the right to choose than it is about ensuring that donors adhere to the university’s Catholic mission and identity.
By the way, here are the offending ads that Duquesne University made WDUQ pull from the air:
Support for DUQ comes from Planned Parenthood, offering healthcare services to men, including screenings for cancer and STDs. Planned Parenthood: Their mission is prevention.
Support for DUQ comes from Planned Parenthood, providing comprehensive sexuality education, including lessons on abstinence. Planned Parenthood: Their mission is prevention.
Support for DUQ comes from Planned Parenthood, whose community educators empower teens to make good choices by teaching self-esteem. Planned Parenthood: Their mission is prevention.
Support for DUQ comes from Planned Parenthood, offering cancer screenings for women and men. Planned Parenthood: Their mission is prevention.
Pamela in Pittsburgh