This Week In Politics: Why #BigBird is a Big Deal

Big Bird

Don’t you just love when politics get fuzzy? I do. And I’m not talking about fuzzy on policies, I’m talking actually fuzzy. Whether you care enough about politics to watch the presidential debates or not (you should), there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard Sesame Street and Big Bird on the tip of every tongue and as the hashtag of many a tweet this past week. And if you didn’t care enough to watch, or if you fell asleep after the opening statements, I bet you’re wondering why.

The star of Sesame Street has found his way into the political spotlight because, to put it bluntly, Mitt Romney . Yes, that means Oscar, The Count, Grover, Bert, Ernie, Elmo, and, of course, Big Bird. He would also fire debate moderator Jim Lehrer (PBS Newshour) as part of his promise to cut federal funding of the Public Broadcasting Station. Cutting PBS subsidies is part of Mitt’s attempt to cut the size of the federal deficit. It stands to note, however, how much money the U.S. government is actually giving PBS on a yearly basis. Take 2010: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) estimated that it received $506 million from the federal government. Seems like a big number, but let’s put it in perspective. The Office of Management and Budget put the federal budget for 2010 at $3.456 trillion (whoa). One wave of the magic math wand (calculator) and the amount that PBS received two years ago was .00014 percent of the federal budget.

So on the one hand, this would cut some expenditure out of the federal budget. And in a time where we’re trying to save money, decrease our debt, and balance our budget, a lot of little cuts could add up to some big savings. But it sounds heartless that the characters that taught us to count, learn to build friendships, and gave us (my favorite) Snuffleupagus, should be the first to get the axe. It was also pretttty #awkward watching Mitt Romney tell Jim Lehrer to his face, and to an audience of 70 million Americans, that he would fire the lifelong journalist almost immediately upon being sworn into office.

All I’m saying is, it might pay to watch the next debate – which pits Vice President Biden against Vice Presidential Hopeful, Paul Ryan, this Thursday, October 11th. Putting aside the fact that Biden is known to be a political gaffe-machine, it’s always good to know what’s going on in the world. And if/when the Wingman-In-Chief says , or Paul Ryan botches another cliché statement about not feeding fish, at least you’ll be equipped with something witty to tweet and a kitschy hashtag for the occasion.

For now, I’m all for #SaveBigBird. And now that you know the nuts and bolts behind the controversy, you can join in on some comic relief by following all of the Twitter accounts popping up around the Sesame Street controversy. I’ll put it out there that it made my day last week to get the notification that started following me on Twitter, though I’m half-dreading the moment when he tweets me asking to pass his resume along for an internship. Word on the street is Elmo is taking being laid off pret-ty hard. #SorryElmo.


big birdCurrent Eventspresidential debateromney
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