Will Big Bird end up on skid row?
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
Big Bird and I go way back (to 1984, to be specific). He introduced me to a number of my friends – Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Mr. Hooper, Bert, Ernie, Count von Count and Snuffleupagus, just to name a few.
(Unfortunately, none of my beloved Muppets ever clearly told me “how to get to Sesame Street,” but that’s another story.)
As much as I love Big Bird and friends, I’m tired of hearing about them.
You know why everyone is talking: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told longtime PBS anchor and debate moderator Jim Lehrer that if he won the presidency, in an attempt to cease financial aid from China, he would cut a number of programs, including funding for Lehrer’s network.
Judging by America’s reaction, we would rather be indebted to China than cut funding, especially to a television station (because without television, Americans have no reason to live).
According to PBS, more than 117 million people watch the network each month. PBS costs the American taxpayer $1.03 per year and for every federal dollar invested, local PBS stations raised $6 to complete their budget. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes federal grants to PBS stations, received $445 million in funding this year alone.
I’m sure a number of other programs could be cut aside from PBS funding. I don’t particularly agree with Romney on the Big Bird fiasco but I’m not covering myself with ashes and weeping over the possibility of losing PBS, either.
If anything, for me, this issue speaks volumes about Americans’ priorities.
“Sesame Street” definitely qualifies as educational programming and it is one of the few kids shows left today that does not resort to cleverly disguised adult humor. The show focuses on numbers and the alphabet and also teaches lessons about respecting ones self and others.
One of the major issues surrounding Romney’s statement is that children, especially low-income children, would not have access to educational programming.
However, if any adult depends on “Sesame Street” to teach a child those lessons, that says more about the adult than it does Romney. Though many adults might not be able to educate their children in a number of areas, the majority of adults with children know how to count or recite the alphabet. They also know right from wrong. If you are depending on a television program to subsidize your parenting skills, in my opinion, the fault lies with the parent, not the federal government, Romney or even PBS itself.
PBS has also come a long way from its strict programming of “Sesame Street”, Julia Child, “Dr. Who”, “Painting with Bob Ross,” “Wild America” and “NOVA”.
I really think the American people would be okay if they did not have access to “Antique Roadshow,” “Downton Abbey,” “Masterpiece Theatre” and British sitcoms. I never found “Mr. Bean”, “Are You Being Served?” or “Waiting for God” to be educational anyway.
PBS is a great network, though. God bless “Austin City Limits” and the number of winter concerts that introduced me to amazing musicians and songwriters. I do not see PBS as a financial burden to taxpayers. Honestly, even if the government cut funding, PBS would thrive. It started taking on advertisers years ago and has plenty of private donors.
I am not trying to attack PBS, either; I am simply pointing out that as Americans, the majority of us would rather save television shows than taxpayers’ money.
We are still fighting in Afghanistan and soon enough, we will probably have military involvement in Syria. We are trillions of dollars in debt, so education and medical funding is steadily being cut.
But who cares about those issues when Big Bird is in danger of being cancelled?
Short URL: http://www.jenningsdailynews.net/?p=14631