Yesterday’s US Presidential debate highlighted Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s ridiculous plan to cut the budget of the much-loved public television channel, PBS. The topic shouldn’t be new to Hyperallergic readers, as we’ve discussed Romney’s disdain for arts funding before, and it is troubling that a program with such a small budget ($444 million, or about 0.007 % of the US federal budget) but such a large positive impact is being placed on the chopping block as part of the solution to our financial mess.
We found a useful infographic on World Shaker, which outlines the actual impact PBS has American society, and all for the miniscule cost of $1.03 per person.
The Twitterverse didn’t take kindly to Romney’s declaration, and the social media service’s metrics pointed out that the attack on Big Bird generated a lot of tweets, RTs, and discussion. Hell, it even spawned fake Twitter accounts like @BlGBlRD, which did a good job of jabbing back:
17,000 Tweets per minute for “Big Bird” and 10,000 Tweets per minute for “PBS”. #debates
— Twitter Government (@gov) October 4, 2012
The fact is that Romney either doesn’t understand how PBS funding works or he is deliberating misrepresenting his positions like he did during the entire debate. As a New York Times editorial explained today, “Virtually every time Mr. Romney spoke, he misrepresented the platform on which he and Paul Ryan are actually running.”
PBS CEO and President Paula Kerger blasted Romney’s entire premise of government funding for PBS, telling CNN that “actually, Big Bird doesn’t get any money from the government.”
“In fact, the money that comes from the government into the Corporation for Public Broadcasting actually doesn’t even come to PBS, it goes to our member stations. So that is actually what is at risk if, in fact, we are defunded because the money is going to stations across the country,” Kerger said. And for some stations in rural areas, she added, cutting government money will mean “those stations will go off the air.”
And the cultural confusion propelled by a desperate candidate who will say and do anything to win continues
Enjoy this timely original song, “Romneybot Fires Big Bird,” by Jonathan Mann.