When Mitt Romney dropped the bomb that he would cut funding for PBS during Wednesday night’s presidential debate, social media sites like Twitter blew up with protests and incredulous questions from supporters of the educational television network. Immediately, memes and photoshopped pictures of Romney “firing” Big Bird hit the web, and since then it’s become one of the most talked-about moments from the debate.
“I’m going to stop subsidy to PBS,” Romney said. “I like PBS…I like Big Bird.”
Lloyd Morrisett, co-creator of “Sesame Street”, says he rolled his eyes when he heard the words come from Romney’s mouth.
I thought to myself, ‘What the hell is this?’” he said. “To argue that’s going to save much money is a stretch of the truth,” Morisett said. “I think it’s sort of silly.”
It’s true that only a small fraction of government funding is allotted to keeping PBS afloat–less than 15%– and Sesame Workshop relies mainly on sponsorship, licensed product sales, and philanthropic supporters for funds.
Sesame Workshop VP Sherrie Westin spoke up as well, saying it’s ridiculous to think they’re going anywhere.
“…Quite frankly, you can debate whether or not there should be funding of public broadcasting. But when they always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird – that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here,” she said.