Kill Big Bird? Why Romney is right to cut PBS funding


PHOENIX, October 3, 2012 — At tonight’s first presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney, once again repeated his support for the defunding of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), by saying, “”I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I like Big Bird” — [the Sesame Street character] — “I like you too (Jim Lehrer).” 

Immediately following this, Twitter exploded with the hash tag ‘#KillBigBird,’ and the hate tweets followed.

“Keep big bird employed, Vote Obama!,” one tweet read, “Romney. He hates Big Bird,” another read. 

Romney’s argument for cutting PBS has been that it is a taxpayer funded subsidy that really is unnecessary due to the large private support that PBS receives and the fact that the debt is already over $16 trillion and cuts need to be made.

It is fair to assume that private entities will help take up the tab that the government currently subsidizes, as PBS is a fairly popular network. 

However, the flack and outright hate that will be spewed at Romney for supporting this defunding is completely wrong-headed. 

The deficit for the past years has been well over $1 trillion, and cuts must be made to help rein in that increasing national debt. As Governor Romney said, if it isn’t worth borrowing money from China to pay for, we should cut it out of the budget. 

At $16 trillion in debt, the United States government has to make severe and sometimes unpopular choices to help wane the growing debt and deficit. 

The federal government is broke, and cutting funding to PBS is not going to cause life-threatening tragedies to the American people.  

Another factor in the defunding of PBS is the fact that the news network is largely a liberal-leaning entity. 

Tonight’s debate moderator, Jim Lehrer, contributes to that liberal aura at PBS.

During the 2004 presidential debates, Lehrer pressed Bush on questioning Kerry’s character on foreign policy asking, “Are there also underlying character issues that you believe, that you believe are serious enough to deny Senator Kerry the job as commander in chief of the United States?” Bush responded: “That’s a loaded question.”

Lehrer also gave Kerry helpful setup questions like, “Speaking of Vietnam, you spoke to Congress in 1971, after you came back from Vietnam, and you said, quote, ‘How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?’ Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?,” and “You’ve repeatedly accused President Bush – not here tonight, but elsewhere before – of not telling the truth about Iraq, essentially of lying to the American people about Iraq. Give us some examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth.”

This kind of hostile questioning and setup clearly shows that Lehrer - in association with PBS - generally supports Democrats and the liberal cause.

The first amendment allows Americans the right to free speech. It does not allow them the right to force others to fund their speech, especially when the debt is well over $16 trillion. 

This notion that Mitt Romney is killing Big Bird is a frivolous attack. 

When times are tough, the expedient steps need to be taken to return to a way of prosperity and sustainability. Defunding PBS is just one of many little cuts we need to help shrink our deficit. 

Email Henry D’Andrea at and follow him on Twitter (@TheHenry)

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Henry D'Andrea

Henry D'Andrea is a Conservative columnist and commentator. He writes a weekly column at the Washington Times Communities called "The Conscience of a Conservative," which features his commentary on current events and political stories from a conservative perspective. He often writes on foreign policy, domestic and economic issues, the conservative movement, and elections.


D’Andrea has been a guest on many radio shows throughout the country since writing columns at the Washington Times Communities. His work has been featured in many publications, including, Commentary Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Tea Party Review Magazine, Big Government, Big Journalism, The Gateway Pundit, Instapundit, and many more.


Feel free to contact Henry D'Andrea at and follow him on Twitter: @TheHenry 


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