One of the high blood-pressure takeaways from Tuesday night's presidential debate—other than Obama's belly flop—was Mitt Romney's assertion that he would stop subsidies to PBS, even though he "loves" Big Bird. This of course enflamed the liberal masses, inspiring a vitriolic outburst to TMZ from Geordi LaForge (okay, fine... LaVar "Reading Rainbow" Burton")...
LeVar tells us, "I am personally outraged that any serious contender for the White House would target as part of his campaign the children of America in this fashion.
...a measured but cutting response from the chief of PBS that once again reminds us that Mitt doesn't give two poops about poor people...
Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting totals $450 million this year, accounting for about 15 percent of the CPB's budget, she said. Federal money supplements the budgets of PBS' 179 stations nationally. For some of the smaller stations in rural areas, this subsidy accounts for more than half of its yearly budget, so many can't operate without it.
... as well as a "Million Muppet March" on November 3rd on the National Mall in Washington, D.C....
"Bring your best fuzzy, feathered, felted friends with you and show your support for Big Bird, Muppets, PBS and all that is good," reads a statement on to the movement's official(?) website, MillionMuppetMarch.com.
HOWEVER! In Mitt's defense (can't believe I'm writing that), cutting subsidies to PBS would actually affect "Big Bird" and Sesame Street very little. From CNN:
Westin [a Sesame Street rep] says, “Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird – that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.”
So even though Mitt got it wrong, and he would probably say he was just using Big Bird as an example of fine PBS programming, that doesn't discount the fact that his idea to cut the network's subsidies is a bonehead and dangerously sad move. Programming that educates and uplifts isn't likely to ever again be supported by advertisers. That's just a terrible fact. For example, see TLC (the so-called "Learning Channel") and one of it's biggest hits, Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.
For now, I rest my case.
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