Sesame Street: PBS Cuts Wouldn't Kill Big Bird

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 4 2012 2:49 PM

Why Not Even a President Romney Could Kill Off Big Bird

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Sesame Street's Big Bird and friends perform at the 76th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2002

Photograph by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images.

If you went to bed last night haunted by images of a President Mitt Romney putting down Big Bird, you can rest easy now.

In last night’s first presidential debate, Romney made the blasphemous claim that despite his fondness for the affable yellow bird, he intended to cut the subsidy given to PBS as part of his plan to curb government spending. Right on cue, Twitter was ablaze, as those whom Big Bird had taught to spell lined up behind him in solidarity.

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While the overwhelming support was noted and appreciated among the Sesame Street gang, it was apparently unnecessary. According to Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of the Sesame Workshop, Big Bird’s life is not in danger.

She joined Soledad O’Brien on CNN this morning to talk the masses off the ledge:

"Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship. So 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."

Needless to say, this is a happy ending to what could have been a horrifyingly-tragic story for the show's many fans. Although, to be honest, if Big Bird’s execution had meant that that sour puss Oscar was on the chopping block as well, the collateral damage might have been worth it.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate video blogger.

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