Saturday, November 28 , 2015, 6:14 am | Fair 38º

Michelle Malkin: Desperate Democrats Hide Behind Big Bird

Flap over Romney's plan to cut PBS funding is childishly out of touch with reality

By Michelle Malkin | @michellemalkin |

Mitt Romney sure ruffled a lot of feathers over his proposal to eliminate taxpayer funding for government-sponsored TV. As soon as the Republican presidential candidate singled out PBS for cuts during the presidential debate in Denver, the hysterical squawking commenced.

Left-leaning celebrities immediately erupted on Twitter. “WOW!!! No PBS!! WTF how about cutting congress’s stuff leave big bird alone,” Whoopi Goldberg fumed. “Mitt is smirky, sweaty, indignant and smug with an unsettling hint of hysteria. And he wants to kill BIG BIRD,” actress Olivia Wilde despaired. “Who picks on Big Bird!!! #bulliesthatswho,” actress Taraji Henson chimed in.

Social media activists called for a Million Muppet March on the National Mall to “show your support for Big Bird, Muppets, PBS and all that is good.” The grammar-challenged operatives of George Soros-funded Media Matters for America lectured “right-wing media” to be “more concerned with Americans having jobs insteading (sic) of obsessing whether or not Big Bird has one.”

Indignant PBS, which employs not-so-neutral debate moderator Jim Lehrer, issued a statement decrying Romney’s failure to “understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.” And President Barack Obama, awakened from his beatdown-induced stupor, scurried the next morning to the safe confines of a campaign rally to mock Romney for “getting tough on Big Bird.”

The kiddie character kerfuffle is a manufactured flap that may play well to liberals in Hollywood and Washington. But beyond the borders of La-La Land, desperate Democrats who cling childishly to archaic federal subsidies look like cartoonish buffoons. Let’s face it: The Save Big Bird brigade is comically out of touch with 21st-century realities.

In 1967, when Congress passed the Public Broadcasting Act, family options for quality children’s programming were severely limited. More than four decades later, there’s a vibrant marketplace for educational broadcasting — on radio, TV and the Internet — that teems with furry friends and information-packed shows.

PBS speaks of itself with cultish self-reverence: “For more than 40 years,” the government network chastised Romney, “Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission — harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.”

In reality, of course, PBS affiliates have become increasingly corporatized. As Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., noted last year, franchises like Sesame Street “are multimillion-dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales.”

Sesame Street has also become increasingly politicized. Under the Obama administration, Elmo has lobbied for the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband plan and first lady Michelle Obama’s Big Nanny nutrition bill. Investigative journalist James O’Keefe caught former National Public Radio exec Ron Schiller on tape trashing the Tea Party as “racist” and “Islamophobic.” And the official PBS Twitter account sent a special shout-out to radical leftist group Move On last year for leading the government media rescue charge.

Moreover, as I’ve previously reported, NPR and PBS have no problem raising money from corporations and left-wing philanthropists, including billionaire Soros, whose Open Society Institute gave $1.8 million to pay for at least 100 journalists at NPR member radio stations in all 50 states over the next three years.

Obama sneered at Romney for daring to mention PBS subsidies in the context of deficit reduction. But Obama’s own Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission singled out Corporation for Public Broadcasting spending. “The current CPB funding level is the highest it has ever been,” the panel noted after Obama proposed hiking yearly appropriations to $450 million in 2012. Doing away with the appropriation would save nearly $500 million in 2015 alone. Over 10 years, those savings would total $5 billion (or roughly 10 Solyndras). In these tough times, that’s more than chump change and child’s play.

Romney’s right: It’s time for government media to grow up and get off the dole. It’s time for taxpayers to flip the Bird.

Michelle Malkin is author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies. Click here for more information. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow her on Twitter: @michellemalkin.

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» on 10.08.12 @ 03:54 PM

Whaaaa and boo hoo. If these over paid Hollywood types think Big Bird is so damned important, why don’t they stick a crow bar in their own wallet and pay for him them selves?” Oh, no can’t do that. No lets shelter our money off shore and point a lying finger at Romney for the same and pass what ever tax on the rich they all scream for off to the middle class. What a bunch of pedantic hypocrites

» on 10.08.12 @ 04:42 PM

Malkin is probably right, in the specific, but way out in right field on the broader

What happens to federal tax support for “public” radio or television is miniscule as a part of Washington’s average annual Budget, or America’s gigantic National Debt.

The larger issue, lost in completely in Obama’s lame debate performance, and
Romney’s robust, confident vagueness, is that huge cuts could be looming for
many institutions most Americans take for granted as stable or permanent.

How do we balance the Budget again, and begin to reduce the Debt?

Privatizing Social Security? Eliminating tax deductions for mortgage payments?
For charitable donations? Cutting Medicare in half?

Asking DOD to demonstrate the same productivity and efficiency you’d expect from any leading business?

Eliminating all or most of the guts of the federal departments of Commerce, Housing, Health, Human Services, Energy, Education, Interior, and maybe Transportation, and most of the local, state, national programs they each fund?

While it’s true that Obama was surprisingly detached and inept about it in the
debate, he did periodically, if lamely, try to get Romney to specify what he’d cut
to avoid the “fiscal cliff” and begin to address Simpson-Bowles recommendations
and it was telling that just about the only thing Romney would specify was his
desire to cut funding for PBS.

If Malkin has access to Romney’s hidden head or heart, maybe she should share
his “plan” for massive new cuts and layoffs now, before the election, so the few
“undecided” could think about his priorities, as they decide how or whether to vote?

» on 10.09.12 @ 06:07 PM

Romney is not about to divulge details that would basically get him eviscerated by an ignorant public. But the fact is all these huge government programs are costly, most have no return value for the value they consume. Most are enormously bloated and inefficient. Given that, pulling more and more wealth out of the private sector to fund this gigantic resource and wealth consuming machine for so little good is abhorrent.

All government needs to be cut back at all levels. There are far to many safety nets way more than we can afford and the proof is in our nagging deficits, debt and horrendous trade imbalance. We simply cannot sustain the level of service we have and survive, particularly with so many other economies circling like vultures to pick the carcass that’s left when we fall.

And at the rate we are printing money and borrowing we will fall and fall hard. I don’t know if Romney is the guy to fix it, but I now know for sure Obama isn’t.

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