Past legislative candidate attacks South Dakota Public Broadcasting over critical race theory

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A radio interview last week with a history professor about critical race theory has led to a public call for state lawmakers to financially punish South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

Joel Koskan of Wood used Twitter to criticize talk-show host Lori Walsh for her Thursday segment with Ibram X. Kendi, author of several books on black history including “How to Be an Anti-Racist.”

Koskan tweeted on Saturday, August 7, “I’m thinking that @MomentSDPB is forgetting who pays her salary. #SDleg needs to defund these radical loving liberals in our media. @govkristinoem@IanTFury@SDPBNews

Koskan, who’s made several runs for the state Senate in recent years, didn’t give any ground when another SDPB commentator subsequently engaged him on Twitter. Kevin Woster tweeted, “Did you listen to the interview with Kendi? Nothing radical at all. Measured and thoughtful. And he went out of his way to not be critical of the governor, saying if there were were errors in his book, as the governor says there are, he would welcome the chance to correct them.”

South Dakota Public Broadcasting executive Julie Overgaard hasn’t responded to an email from KELOLAND News sent Tuesday morning.

Kendi’s appearance on Walsh’s mid-day show came after the South Dakota Board of Regents earlier Thursday adopted a statement and action plan making clear that critical race theory won’t be taught in the state’s six public universities. The regents also issued a news release.

Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, has specifically referred to Kendi in some of her tweets and statements attacking critical race theory. She issued a statement Thursday responding to the regents that named Kendi and a column about critical race theory Friday.

Noem earlier had signed an executive order and sent a letter to each regent, while the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations has considered letters of intent telling the state Department of Education and the regents to not apply for federal history and civics grants until after the 2022 legislative session.

Koskan, a Republican, has twice challenged Senate Democrat leader Troy Heinert of Mission.

In their 2020 contest, Heinert defeated Koskan 4,418-3,941. Koskan won Brule, Jones, Lyman and Mellette counties. Heinert, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, took Buffalo and Todd counties.

Koskan didn’t respond to several direct messages on Twitter seeking further comment about SDPB.

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