DemsplayingBig Bird

By Malkin, Michelle | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 7, 2012 | Go to article overview

DemsplayingBig Bird


Malkin, Michelle, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Mitt Romney sure ruffled a lot of feathers over his proposal to eliminate taxpayer funding for government-sponsored TV. As soon as the GOP presidential candidate singled out PBS for cuts during the presidential debate in Denver, the hysterical squawking commenced.

Left-leaning celebrities immediately erupted on Twitter. "Mitt is smirky, sweaty, indignant and smug with an unsettling hint of hysteria. And he wants to kill BIG BIRD," actress Olivia Wilde despaired.

Social media activists called for a Million Muppet March on the National Mall to "show your support for Big Bird, Muppets, PBS and all that is good."

Indignant PBS, which employs not-so-neutral debate moderator Jim Lehrer, issued a statement decrying Romney's failure to "understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation."

And President Obama, awakened from his beatdown-induced stupor, scurried the next morning to the safe confines of a campaign rally to mock Romney for "getting tough on Big Bird."

The kiddie character kerfuffle is a manufactured flap that may play well to liberals in Hollywood and Washington. But beyond the borders of La-La Land, desperate Democrats who cling childishly to archaic federal subsidies look like cartoonish buffoons.

In 1967, when Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act, family options for quality children's programming were severely limited. More than four decades later, there's a vibrant marketplace for educational broadcasting -- on radio, TV and the Internet -- that teems with furry friends and information-packed shows.

PBS speaks of itself with cultish self-reverence: "For more than 40 years," the government network said, "Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission -- harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they (sic) live or their ability to pay. …

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