Today, the NY Fishwrap's Op-Ed columnist The Blowhard (Charles M. Blow) takes off the gloves with Big Love. The dumbest of the Dumbos proclaimed his intent to cut the fat out of the federal budget and his chief target was public broadcasting. The truth, rather than the Dumbo-canard, is that current investment in pubic broadcasting equals about one one hundred of one percent (0.117 %) of the federal budget. Wow! Look at the size of that fat: one one hundred of one percent! That's huge, dude! But Big Love wasn't through. He surpassed the 47% gaffe by attacking the listening/viewing preference of nearly 55% of the current U.S. population. An estimated 170 million people in this country support public broadcasting. Of course, an iconic image of PBS is Big Bird and The Blowhard flipped the bird at Big Love in today's column. If this is a (fair & balanced) obscene gesture, so be it.
[x NY Fishwrap]
Don’t Mess With Big Bird
By Charles M. Blow
Tag Cloud of the following article
Mitt Romney’s Big Bird swipe during Wednesday’s debate raised some hackles: PBS’s, many on social media and mine.
Romney told the debate moderator, Jim Lehrer:
“I’m sorry, Jim. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Those are fighting words.
Social media, and others, exploded in Big Bird’s defense.
PBS itself issued a tersely worded statement on Thursday, saying:
“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.”
Exactly! What they said!
Big Bird is the man. He’s 8 feet tall. He can sing and roller skate and ride a unicycle and dance. Can you do that, Mr. Romney? I’m not talking about your fox trot away from the facts. I’m talking about real dancing.
Since 1969, Big Bird has been the king of the block on “Sesame Street.” When I was a child, he and his friends taught me the alphabet and the colors and how to do simple math.
Do you know how to do simple math, Mr. Romney? Maybe you and the Countess Von Backward could exchange numbers.
Big Bird and his friends also showed me what it meant to resolve conflicts with kindness and accept people’s differences and look out for the less fortunate. Do you know anything about looking out for the less fortunate, Mr. Romney? Or do you think they’re all grouches scrounging around in trash cans?
I know that you told Fox News this week that you were “completely wrong” for making that now infamous 47 percent comment, but probably only after you realized that it was a drag on your poll numbers. Your initial response was to defend it as “inelegantly stated” but essentially correct. That’s not good, sir. Character matters. Big Bird wouldn’t have played it that way. Do you really believe that Pennsylvania Avenue is that far away from Sesame Street? It shouldn’t be.
Let me make it simple for you, Mr. Romney. I’m down with Big Bird. You pick on him, you answer to me.
And, for me, it’s bigger than Big Bird. It’s almost impossible to overstate how instrumental PBS has been in my development and instruction.
We were poor. My mother couldn’t afford day care, and I didn’t go to preschool. My great-uncle took care of me all day. I could watch one hour of television: PBS.
When I was preparing for college and took the ACT, there were harder reading passages toward the back of the test. Many had scientific themes — themes we hadn’t covered at my tiny high school in my rural town. But I could follow the passages’ meanings because I had watched innumerable nature shows on PBS.
I never went to art or design school. In college, I was an English major before switching to mass communications. Still, I went on to become the design director of The New York Times and the art director of National Geographic magazine.
That was, in part, because I had a natural gift for it (thanks mom and dad and whatever gods there may be), but it’s also because I spent endless hours watching art programs on PBS. (Bob Ross, with his awesome Afro, snow-capped mountains and “magic white,” will live on forever in my memory.)
I don’t really expect Mitt Romney to understand the value of something like PBS to people, like me, who grew up in poor, rural areas and went to small schools. These are places with no museums or preschools or after-school educational programs. There wasn’t money for travel or to pay tutors.
I honestly don’t know where I would be in the world without PBS.
As PBS pointed out:
“Over the course of a year, 91 percent of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81 percent 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.”
PBS is a national treasure, and Big Bird is our golden — um, whatever kind of bird he is.
Hands off! Ω
[Charles M. Blow is The New York Times's visual Op-Ed columnist. His column appears every other Saturday. Blow joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and quickly became the paper's graphics director, a position he held for nine years. In that role, he led The Times to a best of show award from the Society of News Design for the Times's information graphics coverage of 9/11, the first time the award had been given for graphics coverage. He also led the paper to its first two best in show awards from the Malofiej International Infographics Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war. Charles Blow went on to become the paper's Design Director for News before leaving in 2006 to become the Art Director of National Geographic Magazine. Before coming to The Times, Blow had been a graphic artist at The Detroit News. Blow graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a B.A. in mass communication.]
Copyright © 2012 The New York Times Company
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