Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bye Bye Big Bird

Mitt Romney came not to kill Big Bird, but to pimp him out. At a campaign stop at Homer's Deli in Iowa today, the GOP android told a crowd of mainly old people that PBS should start running commercials aimed at the pre-school set, who are too lazy to pay taxes.  We just have to stop funding certain programs, he shrilled, even the ones we like. "Stop them! Close them! Turn them off!"

He went through some weird jerky up and down motions to counter his natural stiffness, like a lying Pinocchio trying to convince the audience he is an authentic real live boy. It was the Puppet vs the Muppet!
"You might say, I like the National Endowment for the Arts. I do!  I like PBS. We subsidize PBS. Look, I'm going to stop that. I'm going to say that PBS is going to have to have advertisement. We're not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird is going to have advertisements, alright?" 
(But just so you know, he is going kill ObamaCare dead. On Day One!  With no Congressional input and no ads and no borrowing money from China! Watch a blessedly shortened video clip of his hour-long harangue here.  Notice the Deli employees snickering in the background. Notice he lied by omission by not revealing that the federal government funds less than 5% of public broadcasting!)

This idea of defunding Sesame Street, by the way, is as stale and old and Scroogey as the Republicans who first suggested it last century. The Capitol Steps satire group even composed a song about the GOP wanting to privatize PBS, and put it on their "Whole Newt World" album. "This Big Bird can make you rich/In the right market niche" goes one verse to the tune of "Bye Bye Black Bird." The song suggests beer and cigarettes as some lucrative products for Marxist freeloader Big Bird to shill to the two-to-five-year-old demographic. (audio clip here). 

We all know, thanks to the fact that Gail Collins puts it in every one of her New York Times columns, that Mitt Romney is an animal abuser.  He once strapped the family Irish Setter, Seamus, to the top of his station wagon for a vacation to Canada. (Yeah, he was enclosed in a crate with his very own windshield, but the pooch became violently ill en route).  And now, it seems, Mitt doesn't care too much about the psyches of children, either.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,
Research has shown that young children—younger than 8 years—are cognitively and psychologically defenseless against advertising. They do not understand the notion of intent to sell and frequently accept advertising claims at face value. In fact, in the late 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held hearings, reviewed the existing research, and came to the conclusion that it was unfair and deceptive to advertise to children younger than 6 years.What kept the FTC from banning such ads was that it was thought to be impractical to implement such a ban. However, some Western countries have done exactly that: Sweden and Norway forbid all advertising directed at children younger than 12 years, Greece bans toy advertising until after 10 pm, and Denmark and Belgium severely restrict advertising aimed at children.
You can take the man out of Bain Capital, but you can't take Bain Capital out of the man.


4Runner said...

Bain took the capital, the laid off got the punishment = Bain Capital Punishment.

Charles D said...

Wouldn't it be nice if the other party had someone running who actually believed in public broadcasting, regulation of corporations and banks, and the rule of law? Unfortunately that is not the case.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

And why stop with having Big Bird convince children to buy products — he can also convince them to sell. Since there is commerce in blood-derived pharmaceutical products via for-profit companies which pay donors, perhaps Big Bird can be employed to get children to sell their plasma; they would be told that they are just “playing hospital”, and it would be early training for them in having their lifeblood drained by a system that has been reconfigured to take from the poor and give to the rich.

An example cited in a June 2, 2011 New York Times editorial: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “wants to slash Medicaid so that a family of three making more than $5,317 a year would no longer be eligible”. (That’s barely above $100 a week). However, let me not leave the impression that Governor Christie doesn’t care about families and children; he took two taxpayer-paid flights in a helicopter to his son’s baseball games (reimbursing the state after the embarrassment hit the fan).

And a news story yesterday by Shannon McCaffrey, Associated Press, with details about Medicaid cuts in many states:

Suzan said...

Come on, Karen.

There is nothing but capital to that man.

Paper man!

Love ya,


Denis Neville said...

So Mittens is going to stop subsidizing (less than five percent) PBS.

The same old, tired, right-wing threat to cut PBS and NPR federal funding because they are too ‘liberal.’ And the ‘horror’ stories they tell!

“Fox Business' Follow The Money Unmasks The Muppets' Liberal Agenda: ‘Brainwashing’ Your Kids!”

And PBS defenders once again will rally to “save” Big Bird and the Muppets.

“But amidst the clamor over ‘saving’ PBS, more important questions remain overlooked,” according to Steve Rendall and Peter Hart at Fair.

“Is public broadcasting delivering on its promise? Do PBS and NPR really serve as a true alternative to commercial broadcasting? Does the CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) really, as its mission statement proclaims, ‘encourage the development of programming that involves creative risks and that addresses the needs of unserved and underserved audiences, particularly children and minorities’?”

“The honest answer to each of these questions is no. Over the years, FAIR’s studies have found a distinctly pro-establishment and pro-corporate tilt in PBS’s and NPR’s national news and public affairs programming. Though PBS is mandated to present a wider spectrum of opinion than for-profit media, it is often hard to distinguish the guest lists of public broadcasting’s programs from those of their commercial counterparts. And a big part of the reason public broadcasting has failed to live up to its potential is that the CPB has become a tool used by congressional conservatives to restrict programming within narrow political limits.”

And Jay Rosen, “NPR’s solution to getting bullied on the playground is to bring more lunch money.”

“On taking the job, the new CEO of NPR, Gary Knell, said he wanted to “depoliticize” the debate over the future of public radio. At the same time that he said he wanted to de-politicize the debate, Knell announced that he would be fighting vigorously to retain taxpayer support for NPR and its member stations. This alarmed me, for reasons I will explain.”

“Throughout the 30-year history of public broadcasting, its taxpayer subsidy has repeatedly been used as a club. . . . Like a dog that has learned to flinch at the mere pantomime of its master’s lashing, public broadcasters know how to avoid topics and methods of criticism that might bring down the hand of rebuke.” - James Ledbetter, Made Possible By . . . The Death of Public Broadcasting in the United States

Kat said...

Thanks for the links, Denis.
As for Romney-- isn't Sesame Street one long commercial anyway?

Valerie said...

If PBS and NPR only enjoy 5% public taxpayer support, why don't they become entirely independent? It seems to me that they would attract a lot more loyalty from progressives if they would tell it like it is, instead of pandering to the conservatives in Congress for such a small amount of funding. Give us back David Brancaccio and run Bill Moyers on ALL PBS stations this coming January and I would wager PBS would get all its taxpayer funding back threefold.