Politicians beware: If you want to attack the funding for CPB, PBS and NPR, you are going to have to confront adversaries such as Big Bird, Elmo and Bert and Ernie. This time, Ed Markey (D-MA) was joined by several colleagues from the House of Representatives – and PBS’s Arthur – held a press conference opposing Republican efforts to defund CPB.
Arthur, whose full name is Arthur Read, was in attendance when Markey stated, “Public broadcasting is an electronic oasis in what has been called the vast wasteland of commercial television. That is why I am joining with other House Democrats to offer an amendment to fight the Republican’s misguided elimination of funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). CPB doesn’t just stand for Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It also stands for: Children and Parents Benefit. We cannot allow Republicans to lavish hundreds of millions of dollars a year in tax breaks on Big Oil while leaving Arthur and his pals in the lurch. I will fight to protect one of our most precious landmarks on the entire media landscape.”
Markey noted that public media has 170 million users who tune in at least once a month, and that 21,000 jobs are provided by the endeavor.
He was joined by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Bill Owens (D-NY).
McCollum saw the fingerprints of a particular political constituency on the efforts to defund public broadcasting. “Tea Party Republicans want to completely wipe out this critical resource and weaken our communities. I will fight to protect federal funding for it because I know Minnesotans care deeply for public broadcasting.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The attempt to cut or eliminate public broadcasting is another Capitol Hill perennial, and trotting out children’s characters from PBS is part of the standard Democratic playbook. So far, the powerful minions of Sesame Street and their colleagues have held Republicans at bay, but late last year, NPR gave Republicans their best argument yet via the abrupt dismissal of Juan Williams.
The troubles at NPR, along with a general budget-cutting mentality, seem to have upped the anti-CPB fervor to new levels. However, Democrats and President Obama are still with the beleaguered noncoms, so the battle is far from over. Stay tuned.