Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) October 4, 2012
He sure did! During last night’s debate, Mitt Romney vowed to cut taxpayer funding for PBS if elected, leading to a massive freakout across the Twitterverse over Big Bird’s fate. Today, even David Axelrod is making his concern known:
Surely if PBS were to become privately funded, poor Big Bird would be forced to leave his nest! A new Twitter account, @FiredBigBird, sprang up last to let the world know how our feathered friend is taking the news:
(In spite of the impressive follower count, @FiredBigBird has since been suspended. Sorry, Joan Walsh.)
But Big Bird needs to take a deep breath and chin up; we don’t need to tell him how to get to the unemployment office just yet. Plenty of people still understand that he’s more than capable of maintaining a comfortable lifestyle for himself:
Last year, Senator Jim Demint addressed PBS’s Washington push for more government funding, and he pointed out that in just four years, “Sesame Street” generated over $200 million of private revenue:
Shows like Sesame Street are multi-million dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, “Sesame Street” made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.
Public money currently being allocated to PBS could be better used elsewhere:
It’s not as if PBS is hurting:
Even “Sesame Street” execs have to admit that they’re doing just fine:
[Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s executive VP and chief marketing officer] 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.”
Defunding PBS will not put Big Bird and friends out on the street. This message has been brought to you by common sense.