During the presidential debate tonight Mitt Romney proudly proclaimed, "I love Big Bird" while also complimenting PBS' contributions to our society -- including "The News Hour."
But the other half of his sentence vowed to end government subsidies to public television.
That means no more Big Bird. No more Sesame Street, no more Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, no more "News Hour"... the list goes on and on.
The problem is that public television really is vital to the success of our American society. Most, if not all, of us were raised on the aforementioned programs -- in particular those aimed at children.
Image Credit: hi-lo via Flickr
Public television is FREE TELEVISION -- available to everyone, regardless of income. Divorced of private corporate ownership (sponsors are not owners since it is rare to unheard of for a single donor, corporate or individual, to fund an entire program), PBS remains far more independent than any other television network. This means fair and balanced programming serving the public, not corporate, interest.
This is at the heart of PBS' effectiveness. You know when you watch Sesame street or Julia Child or Ken Burns or a thousand other programs that you are watching QUALITY.
We need that quality. We need that fair and balanced approached to programming. Where else would you find physicist Dr. Brian Green of Columbia University -- or Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson of the American Museum of Natural History (both regular contributors to "Nova" and "Nova: Science Now")? Where else would you see the consequences of global warming or habitat loss on our world (Nature)? Or learn to appreciate whale song?
The Ken Burn's masterpiece "The Civil War" still shapes our world today, increasing tourism at Civil War battlefields like Gettysburg to previously unheard levels, an effect still felt nearly 20 years after its initial broadcast.
We need PBS, Mitt Romney! Don't tell me you like PBS while vowing to dismantle it in the same sentence!
If you really valued PBS and cared about the folks who need it most, who don't have $200 per month to pay for cable alternatives, then you would be vowing to INCREASE funding to PBS, not slashing it!
You would care about that child in poverty whose mother cannot afford a fancy private preschool and learns language skills through Big Bird, Elmo, and the rest of the Sesame Street cast. You would affirm the role of Mr. Fred Rogers in teaching us self acceptance -- not vow to take him off the air.
I for one will vote in favor of PBS. I will vote Obama.
Laurel A. Rockefeller, author
The Great Succession Crisis
E-Book ISBN: 9781476243344
Print book ISBN: 978-1479144808
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