Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has defended his decision to veto a bill seeking to fund the state’s PBS station through 2026, arguing that the state-funded broadcaster is indoctrinating and sexualizing children.
Last week Stitt vetoed HB 2820, which would have funded the statewide PBS station Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) until 2026. In a recent interview with Fox News, Stitt explained his reason for doing so, highlighting objectionable content such as a segment of “Let’s Learn” featuring the children’s book “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish,” being read by a drag queen called Lil Miss Hot Mess.
“OETA, to us, is an outdated system.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? 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,” Stitt told Fox News.
In addition to Lil Miss Hot Mess, one of the founders of Drag Queen Story Time, reading The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish,” the governor’s office mentioned a PBS Newshour segment that featured parents who supported children having access to experimental medical sex changes, as well as abundant “Pride Month” programming, and a special about a town of Christians and drag queens who “step into the spotlight to dismantle stereotypes.”
"When you think about educating kids, let's teach them to read and their numbers and counting and letters and those kind of things,” Stitt continued. “I mean, some of the programming that we're seeing… it just doesn't need to be on public television.”
Stitt objects to the use of tax dollars funding someone’s agenda.
“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.”
He went on to call the concept of the public television station “outdated.”
“When you think from a free market standpoint…there's so much television, there's so much media,” said Stitt. “Maybe in 1957, you could have made an argument that you needed a public television station, that's that's totally outdated at this point.”
Stitt’s decision has been criticized by some on the left, including by State Rep. Monroe Nichols (D) who accused Stitt of “continued attacks on public education and underrepresented Oklahoma communities.”
Stitt responded by calling this accusation “nonsense,” and just another attempt by Democrats to push a radical left agenda on children.
“Since I've been governor, we have put more money in public education than any other governor before me. I'm actually requesting about a 15 percent increase in public education funding. We've increased it over $1 billion, so that's just simply nonsense,” said Stitt.
An MSNBC blogger, Ja’han Jones, called the decision “nothing more than anti-LGBTQ government censorship" and OETA board member Ken Busby said a civilization can’t survive without supporting arts and culture.
Stitt hit back, calling Busby’s claim another “red herring,” arguing that Oklahoma was filled with beautiful art, and stating that he had supported the arts and recognizes how important it is to do so.
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