October 16, 2012

PBS and the Big Picture

I would like to take a few minutes to offer some personal thoughts on this Big Yellow Herring known as the Republican plan to cut funding for public television and radio AKA firing Big Bird, while the Democrats want to save him and his friends on Sesame Street and the rest of the Public Broadcast Shows.

Both sides are being played like a fiddle in this game.

The amount of the budget that finances public radio and television is minuscule compared to our national expenses. But just to keep things interesting, here is a different way of looking at it.

Children do not NEED television to learn anything. Nor do adults. We need books, newspapers, and perhaps even that real live experience of getting out and about and meeting the people who will shape our future. Go to a rally, attend a town meeting, listen to it happen live.

While I am no fan of commercial television, I also am  hard pressed to find programming, even public television, that isn't selling something. If you think that PBS doesn't sell things, I refer to 1997's rush on Tickle Me Elmo dolls that were being resold for as much as $1500, when there was a shortage during the holiday season on the toy.

Meanwhile, we fight over whether or not the government should fund PBS and our nation divides itself further.

It is not about whether our children will learn to read or not without the help of supposedly non-commercialized letters and numbers that sing and dance their way into their heart with fuzzy cute puppets. It is not about guarding our little ones from consumerism. If that were the case, there would not be consumer goods plastered with the Sesame Street characters, there would not be theme parks to spend spend spend money, there would not be traveling shows, and there would not be potty time apps to keep track of all the sewage surrounding this nonsense.

It's not about whether we need television, or whether that television is selling us something or not. It's about finding the right sort of president to lead us forward. It's about finding someone who will represent all of the United States, not just a vocal minority. It's about caring enough to exercise our right to vote and not flushing that vote away. We don't need an app for that.


  1. The difference that I see with a PBS children's show and those that aren't are vast. Yes - there are muppet figures available as the latest craze - but the programming - those bits that enchant and excite - are specifically and intentionally developed to do just that with a POINT toward engaging a learning process.

    When less than 1/2 of 1% of the federal budget goes to funding this programming - and we can shore up private entities like oil, farming and banking - and no one peeps? That's just sad.

    It was a poor fiscal choice, but a brilliant strategy to red herring the real issues again - the inability of the GOP to actually have said little but NO in the past 2 congresses, and their inaccurate facts and figures ... everyone can relate to Big Bird - while not everyone can understand leveraged buyouts, corporate tax loopholes and most importantly - the personal tax loopholes that allow someone earning 200 million a year to pay 14% tax rate - while someone earning less than 200K is paying anywhere from 19 - 28%. And yet - they 'deserve" the increase to their disposable and discretionary income as the rest get to decide what they can afford after making their bills.

    1. It is a brilliant but irrelevant strategic move. Nero fiddles while Rome burns comes to mind.


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