Channel One News Bad Guy: Congressman Bradley Byrne (R) AL

August 1, 2018

Congressman Bradley Byrne did Alabama schoolchildren no favors when he did work for Channel One.

Bradley Bryne

From Jim Metrock: Bradley Bryne sold out Alabama schoolchildren when he was a member of the Alabama State Board of Education.

He is now a congressman representing South Alabama.

He was one of the first persons Ms. Pat Ellis, Obligation’s education director, and I approached on the State Board to oppose Channel One in Alabama schools.  When he was told of the commercial content and the amount of time the program took out of the school week, he was very much opposed to Channel One.

He was going to mention the problem with Channel One at a State Board work session.  Pat Ellis and I attended that work session looking forward to Channel One being called out by Mr. Byrne.

Mr. Byrne did call out Channel One, but to praise the company!  What!?

Mr. Byrne told the other members at the meeting that he had just found out about Channel One and he asked two of his kids if they watched it and they told him they did watch the program in their school and they liked it.  That was enough for Byrne. He said he was very glad such a wonderful current events show was in Alabama schools.  He left the meeting quickly and avoided Ms. Ellis and me.

Was it as simple as Mr. Byrne listening to his children and believing them over two strangers?  Nah. The reason was even more simple than that: money.

Somehow, Channel One got wind of our talk with Byrne, and they connected him with their Alabama lobbyist Martin Christie.  Checking campaign financial reports a few months later, I found that a company called Primedia had made a substantial contribution to Bradley Byrne.  Primedia was the parent company of Channel One. Primedia had no other business interest in Alabama other than making sure Alabama schoolchildren spent one hour a week watching the commercials on Channel One News.

Bradley Byrne could have helped Alabama schoolchildren across the state, but he chose not to.  When I asked him a year later about accepting that money and reversing his position on Channel One, he told me the contribution had no influence whatsoever on his change of heart.

That reversal would have been enough to make Bradley Byrne a world-class bum in my opinion, but he did worse stuff.

Years later, when Alabama Governor Bob Riley was considering a suspension of Channel One programming in state schools, Bad Bradley Bryne showed up again.  He wrote the Governor and told him Channel One was a good thing for the state. The Governor listened and backed down from unplugging Channel One in Alabama.

It would be very educational for Alabama voters if a reporter would explore this aspect of Bradley Byrne’s past.



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