This weekend’s column: PBS, NPR and Ike ...
Published: October 6, 2012 01:44PM
Updated: October 8, 2012 01:24PM
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FILE - Big Bird, of the children's television show Sesame Street, arrives at the Daytime Emmy Awards on in this Aug. 30, 2009 file photo, in Los Angeles. In a week when Big Bird was in the news, it seemed fitting to find him perched at the parody news report Saturday Oct. 6, 2012 on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

UPDATED: Monday, 1:25 p.m.

— Private sector falls short — By George Pyle | The Salt Lake Tribune

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.” — President Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 1953

Or, if Ike were around today, he might put it more like this:

“Every reality show that is made, every ‘Kate Plus 8’ that is aired, every Kardashian kept up with, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who are ignorant and not informed, those who are curious and not educated. This media in fluff is not spending money alone. It is spending the bandwidth of the Internet, the hours of our prime time, the marketplace of our democracy.”

Which is why the blogosphere went tweeting mad when Mitt Romney said during Wednesday night’s presidential debate that he would zero out federal funding of public broadcasting, his love for Big Bird notwithstanding. ...

... Fans of the private sector are quick to use as examples networks such as Discovery, A&E and History. Those networks, and their predecessors, once produced thousands of hours of documentary and artistic programming.

But they soon morphed into festivals of conspiracy-theory/ancient-astronaut history and voyeuristic intrusions into the lives of criminals, hoarders, bounty hunters, hyper-fertile families, aging rock stars and something called Honey Boo Boo.

The idea that those channels provide a for-profit answer to public broadcasting is an argument that can only be raised by people who do not own a television machine. ...

— Romney’s Threat to Big Bird Sows Confusion Abroad, and Feeds It at Home — The New York Times

... At least some of the confusion among viewers watching the debate from outside the United States centered on the question of how Mr. Romney expected to get votes by pledging to eliminate state support for televised educational programming, and news, which is taken for granted in much of the developed world. ...

— PBS Statement Regarding October 3 Presidential Debate — WITF.org

— Why Not Even a President Romney Could Kill Off Big Bird — Andrew McCarthy | Slate