PBS vs. Honey Boo Boo

If Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is elected and makes good on his promise to eliminate funding for PBS, no doubt we’ll have a lot more shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” and a lot less shows like “Sesame Street.”


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6 thoughts on “PBS vs. Honey Boo Boo

  1. I think I’m probably as middle of the fence on this as just about any issue – I can truly see some merit on both sides of the federal funding of PBS argument.

    I grew up on Sesame – and am watching it with my youngest right now in fact. But it’s a bit of a misnomer to suggest that Sesame Street is somehow far removed from profit. All told, it’s generated probably billions in revenues over it’s lifetime. Hundreds of millions in profit generated as a result of taxpayers dollars. Can’t help but wonder how much of those profits flowed back to the taxpayers. Seems to me, in a lot of ways it’s not that different from a venture capital situation but with the VC getting nothing back in return.

    I do agree – I think there’s been a lot of quality programming that has been created/enabled/fostered as a result of federal funding of PBS. And certainly, even cutting it completely would be a grain of sand in the larger picture of government spending, so to suggest budget savings would mean something substantial is obviously untrue.

  2. I should add that I’m really not sure that the loss of programming is so strong any more. As good as Sesame Street has been, I don’t see an unfulfilled gap today if it didn’t exist. I could list way too many quality children’s shows today that came about without federal assistance but as the result of big evil profits.

    Holding up some stupid reality show as the alternative of a life without PBS is just plain dishonest. How about Blues Clues, Dora, Franklin, Backyardigans, Little Einsteins, Oswald, Miss Spider, Little Bear, Bear in the Big Blue House (I told you I could list way too many). IMHO as a father, these are all high quality programming.

    I’ve enjoyed things such as Austin City Limits. But today – I don’t know that it’s doing anything that a half dozen other channels aren’t including Ovation.

    Can’t help but notice the very article you link actually pretty much exposed your argument as false:

    <b<Romney’s proposal to zero-out federal spending for public broadcasting will have little to no effect on Sesame Street’s budget because the show receives “very, very little funding” from PBS, Sesame Street’s executive vice president Sherrie Westin told CNN last week. Westin said the majority of the show’s funding comes from corporate sponsorships, product sales and donations.

    But all means, make it about a simple, compelling and blatantly false meme of “they’ll kill Elmo.”

    The arguments for federal funding were fairly compelling a few decades ago. Limited access especially in rural areas was a big issue. The move to digital really made a lot of those arguments moot. Not to mention, the E/I (Educational & Instructional) federal requirements of broadcast channels actually requires commercial terrestrial stations to broadcast the same type of programming PBS airs.

    1. Locke, how does the right win elections? They win because they’ve done a better job of comping up with “compelling” and often blatantly false memes to elicit an emotional response in certain segments of the population.

      1. I agree, many Republican candidates win elections doing just that. Many Democrats do as well. I’d probably even be willing to grant that Republicans have done it more/better – if I cared about which party sucks less. I have no interest in such a discussion. It’s like arguing over whether it’s better to get punched in the head or gut. If that’s the discussion, then we’ve all already lost.

  3. As somebody with a small child and no money for cable television (thanks again Governor Walker) I don’t think you can even begin to compare what is on PBS with broadcast television.

    1. You are blaming Governor Walker because you don’t have cable? That’s a new low. Cry me a river!

      I agree that your child should be watching PBS (if anything) instead of cable garbage. But Locke has a point, does all the Sesame merchandising flow back to fund the network? Where did all that Tickle Me Elmo money go? Jim Henson Productions (now Disney I believe) or did it flow back to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?

      Given a choice, I’d probably stop funding NPR before PBS. Or maybe the National Endowment for the Arts. I’d rather pay for Big Bird to teach ABCs than be forced to pay for Piss Christ.

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