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Dan Rackley

Dan Rackley is a US Naval veteran living in Philadelphia and a contributor to "Will They Ever Trust Us Again?"

February 19th, 2011 11:59 AM

House Republicans Vote To Cut PBS Funding

Now Viewers Like You Will Really Have To Pay

Every Wednesday at ten in the evening, my wife and I settle down in the living room to watch a couple of our favorite shows.  By this time, our son is usually in bed and we got the TV to ourselves for a little bit.  We’ve become enamored the past couple of years with every type of cooking show imaginable.  And the big one for us is the Bravo program Top Chef.  For those of you that have never seen the show, it is kind of like Survivor but with cooks.  There’s always a ubiquitous elimination challenge.  Accompanied by a setup challenge that sets the tone for the rest of the episode.  It quickly become a favorite of our family.  So every Wednesday night we gather on the couch to watch people who could cook things really well being judged by people who can cook the same things; but in their sleep.

Now imagine our surprise when we turned the show on this week and saw three familiar individuals.  Telly Monster, Cookie Monster, and Elmo.  They were going to be judges in a challenge to see what chef could bake the best cookie.  Seems like a fair enough challenge to me.  But the judges however confused me a little bit.  Why would these beloved children’s characters be judging on a cooking show?  I can understand Cookie Monster, because after all, he’d be the guy you would go to when judging a cookie contest.  Telly Monster seemed to just be there for the ride, and Elmo just because Telly Monster needed someone to get him past security.  Why in God’s name were these three long tenured Muppets working as judges?  I don’t think it had anything to do with cookies, or any promotional tie in.

They were auditioning for second jobs.  As part of the recent vote in the House of Representatives, the government has cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  Which for those of you that may not be aware, is the group that funds PBS.  Which in turn funds Sesame Street.  Which with that lack of funding that CPB will now be struck with, many things will end up changing for the folks on Sesame Street.  Like the rest of American society; they’re going to have to go out and look for second jobs.  With the lack of funding, PBS is now going to have to rely on viewer donations more than ever.  This is a double hit to them because even with the federal funding intact, there is always a rush to get enough money to break even.  I know that this is one thing in the budget that was taking up a large chunk of money; but it should not be touched.  Think of all the things the kids of the past few generations have learned from watching PBS.  Adults aren’t exempt from this either.  All those wonderful documentaries that you have sat down and the only place you could find it was on your local PBS station.  That very well may not be the case soon.  With the lack of federal funding now looming for PBS, the possibilities are endless.  Never mind Muppets having to get second jobs.  The commercial free programming will now be a thing of the past.  You’re going to end up seeing product placement in the middle of children’s programming.  And that’s not right people.

The Republicans think PBS is not important.  I know I am not the only one who disagrees with them.  Of some of the budget cuts that I hope get knocked down before it reaches Obama’s desk, this is one of the big ones.  Not because you can find the Ken Burn’s Baseball documentary on TV at five in the afternoon, not for all the wonderful musical performances like Bruce Springsteen and Austin City Limits; but for the collective work they have done to help educate.  And I damned well wouldn’t want to explain to a small child that Elmo isn’t going to be able to help them count anymore because they ran out of money.

www.twitter.com/sandidan

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