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Grant Bosse Has It All Wrong, PBS Is The Last Cut We Should Make

Let me start by saying that Grant makes some good points in his article “Big Bird doesn’t need our help: PBS subsidy is the easiest budget cut in Washington” however I take complete offense to his closing statement.

“This debate over funding PBS is actually quite informative. Anyone who insists we still need it obviously doesn’t really care about fixing the deficit, and needn’t be taken seriously.”

The debate on cutting PBS as the first and ‘easiest’ choice is retarded. That’s like taking a ladle of water out of a lake.  Grant even agrees with me on this.

“The half-billion dollars we spend on public broadcasting isn’t much compared to a trillion-dollar annual deficit and a $16 trillion debt”

He is right, Big Bird will be just fine.  Sesame Street is the largest revenue producer for PBS Television.  What Grant does not seem to understand is that Public Television is the only option for some poor children.  So when he says we need to “stop subsidizing upper-middle-class television” he could not be further from the truth.

PBS is watched by four out of five children under five years old.  Why is that? Because they are the best education programing on TV.

“PBS had five of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in August 2012, and five of the top 10 programs for kids age two to five. (NielsenNPower, 8/2012)”.

According to a study done by Princeton University, PBS has “six of the top eight children’s shows” on TV. LaVar Burton said it best in his editorial to CNN (Note: I encourage everyone to read this)

“PBS offers kids television shows that are free — and especially free of hard-sell commercials and corporate points of view. PBS educates our children.”

Recently a study was done showing the direct impact from PBS educational programming and low-income children.  Without going it to too much detail, they said

“Educational television shows like Sesame Street and Between the Lions have shown positive effects on literacy skills”

People love and trust PBS.

“A survey this year said Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second-most valuable use of public funds behind only national defense.” (emphasis added)

You may think that nobody is really watching PBS well you would be wrong.

“PBS’ primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS’ audience is 92% larger), TLC (88%), Discovery Channel (69%), HGTV (64%), HBO (62%) and A&E (29%). In addition, PBS’ primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 91% higher than that of CNN. (Nielsen Power, 9/19/2011-9/9/2012)”

As I stated in my previous post on Romney and Sesame Street, the $440 million dollars that PBS gets is like seed money. For every dollar they are give they raise six more. All of which is reinvested into PBS shows and broadcasting.  PBS also uses this money to help teacher and parents. They created PBS Learing Media a free, online media-on-demand service developed for educators featuring photos, video, audio files and more with lesson plans, background essays, and discussion questions.

So now that you know why PBS has been around for over four decades and continues to go stronger. This is a strong investment in our future.  It is an investment in our children.  It is an aide to teachers, and parents.  All provided for by a tiny fraction of the US Budget.

Grant is right, we have a rising debt problem, however cutting PBS should be the last thing we should ever do.  Before you talk about cutting Big Bird out of the budget lets talk about some of the other cuts we can make?  Lets talk about raising revenue? Lets talk about cutting other subsidies like oil?  After we have exhausted all of those options and then we still need to make cuts, then and only then, should we discuss cutting PBS.

Mitt Romney Wants To End Big Bird

Did you watch the debate on Wednesday night?  Did you see where Mitt Romney told people that one of the ways he would reduce the Federal Deficit was to make cuts to programs like PBS.

Mitt Romney said “I am going to stop the subsidies to PBS…I like PBS, I love Big Bird…

Mitt Romney’s statement about PBS and Big Bird started a firestorm of comments of people asking why PBS, why Big Bird.  Well Big Bird and Sesame Street cost money.  You have to pay the Muppets, those little furballs don’t work for free.  Actually PBS (which also includes National Public Radio) gets about $445 Million dollars from the Federal Government every years.  According to a PBS Statement released on Thursday PBS stated

“For every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own”

PBS is an investment in our future.  The high quality programing on PBS is watch by over 80% of children between 2-8. I remember watching Sesame Street when I was kid, and now I watch Sesame Street with my children.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

So now the people are up in arms to defend Big Bird, on a America’s most beloved TV characters.  I do agree we have to deal with the National Debt, but cutting PBS will not even make a dent in the debt. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, had tweeted the best comment of all,

You do not have to be an astrophysicist to know that the pennies it cost to fund PBS and NPR will not solve our budget problems.

(below the graphic is the full PBS statement referred to above)

Full Statement from PBS on Presidential Debate

ARLINGTON, VA – October 4, 2012 – We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation. We think it is important to set the record straight and let the facts speak for themselves.

The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.

A national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut.

As a stated supporter of education, Governor Romney should be a champion of public broadcasting, yet he is willing to wipe out services that reach the vast majority of Americans, including underserved audiences, such as children who cannot attend preschool and citizens living in rural areas.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8.

Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online – all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.

Earlier in 2012, a Harris Interactive poll confirmed that Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second most valuable use of public funds, behind only national defense, for the 9th consecutive year.

A key thing to remember is that public television and radio stations are locally owned and community focused and they are experts in working efficiently to make limited resources produce results. In fact, for every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own – a highly effective public-private partnership.

Numerous studies — including one requested by Congress earlier this year — have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.

Learn more at: http://valuepbs.org/.

Before Romney Fired Big Bird, NH House Speaker Bill O’Brien Tried to Banish Him

Matt Sayles/AP/File

Extreme NH House Leadership voted to abolish funding for public television

CONCORD, NH – More than a year before GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney publicly vowed to fire Big Bird and his friendly Sesame Street crew,  the New Hampshire House voted to abolish state funding for public television in New Hampshire.

On February 15, 2011 the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to pass HB 113, prohibiting the use of state funds for New Hampshire public television, by a margin of 263-102.1 The State Senate later tabled the bill.

Click here to see which legislators voted to abolish state funding for Big Bird, who appears on NHPTV six days a week.2 For more legislator vote records, visit the GSP State House Report Card of more than 200 roll call votes organized by issue and legislator, online at www.GraniteStateProgress.org.

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