During the first Presidential Debate of the 2012 election Mitt Romney vowed to cut government funding for the Public Broadcasting Service. Romney’s remarks—and in particular his decision to single out the beloved Big Bird—immediately caused an uproar on social media, with a handful of Twitter handles popping up
featuring the endearing gigantic yellow fowl expressing sadness and rage over being targeted for extermination.
Unfortunately for literacy, Romney’s plan to put PBS under the axe isn’t anything new. Since at least the mid-1990s, government subsidization of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been a constant front in the GOP’s culture wars, and PBS’s programming, from Teletubbies to NewsHour, has been criticized for its supposed liberal bias.
Bombast aside, let’s be real—kids aren’t being indoctrinated with any nefarious left-wing agenda. They’re simply being educated in an entertainment format. Sesame Street taught me the basics of life in terms that 8-year-old me could understand. Reading Rainbow sparked my love for books. Cutting PBS funding will do nothing but deny kids educational programing.
As Neil deGrasse Tyson summed it up, “Cutting PBS support (0.012% of budget) to help balance the Federal budget is like deleting text files to make room on your 500Gig hard drive.”