The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Big Bird Needs to be Kept in Flight by Viewers Like You

3 min read


Alright everyone, suit up! We’re on a mission. A multi-millionaire is running for president and he’s hatched a very nefarious scheme. This man is a hunter, and he wants the prized yellow feathers of our most cherished childhood icon. That’s right, Big Bird is in trouble and we’ve got to save him!

In last week’s presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney did what all good super villains do, he publically toted his plot. As he agonizingly tried to hold back his maniacal cackle, Romney told 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.”

The bad guy has just given us the intricate details of his dastardly designs. This is our chance to be heroes! Now how do we stop him?

Here’s a hypothetical: fast-forward one month to Election Day. After three successively abysmal debate performances, the lead President Barack Obama carried in September and early October has collapsed. In a landslide victory, Mitt Romney is elected the 45th president of the United States.

On his first day in office, President Romney issues the Death to Big Bird Executive Order, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting loses the $445 million in funding it gets from the federal government, according to its website.

Now let’s go back to October 2012. We have to ask ourselves: what would be the result of this draconian decree if it ever came to pass?

According to ABC News, 15 percent of PBS’ budget would disappear. The network would have to rely exclusively on revenue generated from its products and private donations, just like its competitors. The horror!

Luckily, I’ve come up with a plan to save Big Bird if he gets the federal ax. Everyone who wants to save Big Bird should donate to PBS. It’s that easy!

After all, Big Bird is an inch away from privatization anyway. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street, took in over $122 million in revenue last year, according to the organization’s 2011 tax return. Big Bird is a member of the one percent!

In fact, according to the same tax return, just six percent of the show’s revenue came from the government.

But what if PBS doesn’t survive Romney’s cuts? Big Bird will have no trouble finding a new home, that’s for sure. Sesame Workshop took in $45 million in royalties in 2011 alone. I can just imagine a mosh pit of television executives clobbering each other over who gets to host the gargantuan canary.

If we’re going to save Big Bird, we’re going to have to do it ourselves, through voluntary action. So pull up the PBS website, whip out your credit cards and compensate the canary!

This seems preferable to voting for politicians to plunder the pocketbooks of the citizenry. No one is entitled to a television show, no matter how lovable the characters are. Don’t force others to do what you are unwilling to do yourself.