Religion News Service: In-depth. Impartial. Engaged.

Blogs » Omid Safi - What Would Muhammad Do?

What Would Muhammad Do? has moved: Click here to read the latest posts

Say anything to get elected?  Sure…but Don’t mess with Big Bird!

The first presidential debate was a complete joke. So much focus on style (who looked tired, who was aggressive), and so little conversation about facts.

What kind of a sham is this that a candidate can make up "facts" as they go along, and they are not held accountable?

By the time fact checkers come along, well, the damage has been done, and they can celebrate a PR win.

It's pathetic, and another sign of the broken, superficial nature of a two-party system, and the ineffectiveness of a cowardly media in not calling candidates out.

Check out NY Times' thoughtful comments hereNPR's coverage of Romney's errors, and the impartial Politifacts fact-checking here.

Yet what seems to have captured the attention of the social media was Romney's quip that "he likes Big Bird", even though of course he would eliminate the funding for PBS.  


You mess with Big Bird, you mess with the wroooong bird. If you "like" someone, you don't cut their funding.

That in spite of the fact that PBS's budget is a tiny, tiny portion of the US federal budget.    

There are many more areas to be trimmed, but this shows Romney's animosity towards public education.

Someone should tell Governor Romney that if he wants to cut something, he can cut corporate welfare to his billionaire buddies.   Or the additional funds he wishes to give to the military--even thoughthe US military is not askng for it.   Or additional tax cuts to the 1%.   

Tags: #debates, barack obama, big bird, cuts, debates, factcheckers, facts, lies, mitt romney, pbs, rebates, taxes


  1. The Sesame Street characters are one giant product placement exercise.  It is no different than the Transformers cartoon show.  Children’s Television Workshop and the Jim Henson Muppets organization pull in big bucks from licensing the images of Big Bird and Grover and Cookie Monster, as well as using them in movies that people pay to see.  Maybe Frontline or Nova or Nature need additional support, but Sesame Street could easily be totally self supporting.  Look at Discovery Science and the various History Channels, with high quality programming that shares the same scientists with PBS shows like Nova.  There is lots of room on cable and satellite for PBS, and infinite room on the internet for video on demand.  Sesame Street can join Netflix and get downloaded, and get paid a small amount each time paid from the revenue stream of Netflix.

  2. hi Raymond.  I respectfully have to disagree.  Children’s Television Workshop introduced generations of children to reading, math, and other essential skills.  Your solution of Netflix would work in hopes that have high speed internet, which is not the target home of CTW initially (inner-city, poorer homes, etc.).  CTW has been a global force in introducing pluralism and literacy.  Frankly, the comparison with Transformers is a bit laughable, even though I am a huge Transformers fan.  Especially Optimus Prime.    But I digress.  I also enjoy History and Discovery channel, but don’t see why everything has to be left to the private realm.  And I invite you again to reflect on just what a small percentage of the budget public broadcasting is.  Combine that with the Republican assault on NPR, the Republican assault on public education, on student loans, on public universities, and you begin to see the larger picture of their vision:  everything for profit.  Education for profit.  Healthcare for profit, etc.  Personally, I believe somethings should be done in the best way possible regardless of how profitable they are.  All the best, omid

  3. Government is already overstretched financially, and we do not need them to supplement television programs, no matter how worthy.  Advertisers can do the job.

  4. If the government is “overstreached”, it is certainly not because of wise spending and good investment. In my opinion, a government must invest in his citizens, especially the young and under privileged. Why? Because it is financially, ethically, socially, and morally a right thing to do, and its financial return far exceeds in investment in military-industrial complex, and the rich. This is the only way that United States will be able to compete in the global economy.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

You also can sign in with Facebook or Twitter if you've connected your account to them.

Sign In Using Facebook

Sign In Using Twitter