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I've always considered Sesame Street to be fair AND balanced. - Ldy, the lemony, ligerish ducttaparian's Magic Treehouse of Lost Thoughts
A classy broad's life... with footnotes.
I've always considered Sesame Street to be fair AND balanced.
If this didn't come to me from moveon.org, I'd instantly disregard it as a hoax.

At this moment, I really wish it were a hoax.

You can read the Washington Post article here.

You know that email petition that keeps circulating about how Congress is slashing funding for NPR and PBS?

Well, now it's actually true. (Really. Check at the bottom if you don't believe me.)

Click here to sign the petition telling Congress to save NPR and PBS!

A House panel has voted to eliminate all public funding for NPR and PBS, starting with "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," and other commercial-free children's shows. If approved, this would be the most severe cut in the history of public broadcasting, threatening to pull the plug on Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and Oscar the Grouch.

The cuts would slash 25% of the federal funding this year—$100 million—and end funding altogether within two years. The loss could kill beloved children's shows like "Clifford the Big Red Dog," "Arthur," and "Postcards from Buster." Rural stations and those serving low-income communities might not survive. Other stations would have to increase corporate sponsorships.

The next vote on the cuts will take place tomorrow (Thursday, June 15, 2005). Help us reach 400,000 signatures to be delivered to the committee members.

At the time of this posting, we've achieved 88% of our 400,000 goal (355,255) we've achieved 93% of our 400,000 goal (375,988)!

By the way, although I feel very strongly about the need to keep PBS & NPR as funded, there are other issues involved, of which you may or may not be aware. So here's some more reference material on the whole political side of this (I've tried to be "fair and balanced" in my choices, some of which may surprise you):

I'm feeling all kinds of: Adults are stupid.
What I hear: the Sesame Street theme in my head

18 tall tales or Tell me a story
seld0n From: seld0n Date: June 15th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC) (permalink)
god I hate people.

darryn From: darryn Date: June 15th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC) (permalink)
Yeah, I couldn't believe it whe I saw that either. No child left behind huh?
Of course, it's all Bert and Ernie's fault for choosing to be gay.
alcestis From: alcestis Date: June 15th, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC) (permalink)
My mom sent me the link this morning. I signed it today!
rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 07:02 pm (UTC) (permalink)
Of course, the truth is that the Children's Television Workshop makes tons of money. Although its supporters try to suggest that it makes a profit of "only" five million a year (or in some other versions loses money) these numbers fail to reflect the reality that a bunch of allegedly public spirited, only in it for the kids, self sacrificing etc etc, types are drawing down six figure salaries and that CTW also has a commercial divison which makes additional millions.

NPR and PBS consist of a gaggle of left wing idealogues who continue to demand that the public fund the presentation of their political and cultural point of view.

When everything from food to travel to DYI to Golf has its own profitable cable niche, why is it that this programming is the only television that requires my money to be taken from me at the point of a gun by the almighty State and given to them to be spent on what THEY want.

pigri From: pigri Date: June 15th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC) (permalink)
NPR and PBS consist of a gaggle of left wing idealogues who continue to demand that the public fund the presentation of their political and cultural point of view.

wow- what a grossly sweeping generalization.
rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC) (permalink)
wow- generalizations can be either true or false. In this case its true.
pigri From: pigri Date: June 15th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC) (permalink)
no, in fact, all collective judgements are wrong. you cannot take a group of individuals and blindly claim that they all have the same "political and cultural point of view."
your opinion does not = truth.
rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 08:33 pm (UTC) (permalink)
That's absurd.

Here's another sweeping generalization: Nazis aren't nice people. Would you care to claim that this generalization is untrue?

What school did you people go to that you come up with these ludicrous notions concerning reasoning, language and logic?
pigri From: pigri Date: June 15th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC) (permalink)
by "you people", to what charasteristic are you referring? female? Caucasian? English major? ljer? pagan? overweight? blue eyed? human?

you come across a reactionary idiot, and it appears you'd rather criticize me than clarify your position. you chose not to use precise language, or consider that your PERSONAL OPINION is not necessarily the TRUTH.
i have no interest in communicating further with you.
rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC) (permalink)
I see.

So having no answer you instead chose to interpret "you people" as some vicious slur and then go on to use such pleasant phrases as "reactionary idiot" to cover the fact that you don't have an answer.

And, having thus lost the argument you flounce off in a pretense of high moral dudgeon. Here's another sweeping generalization...I see right thru you.

alcestis From: alcestis Date: June 15th, 2005 08:57 pm (UTC) (permalink)
Here's another sweeping generalization: Nazis aren't nice people. Would you care to claim that this generalization is untrue?

I do claim that it's untrue. The Nazi ideology wasn't nice. What they did wasn't nice. However, you cannot say that all Nazi's aren't nice. Have you met every Nazi that ever existed?

Wasn't there talk about the new Pope being a Nazi? He was quickly defended by the fact that he was, in a sense, drafted into the Hitler Youth. So he's a Nazi and a Pope, but according to your generalization not a nice person.

rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 09:23 pm (UTC) (permalink)
I don't need to meet every Nazi who ever existed to make the generalization that "Nazis aren't nice people." It is not necessary.

Now if I said "All Nazis are not nice people" then that would be a different proposition. Then I would need to know every Nazi there ever was to have 100% confidence in the proposition.

The notion that generalization is always wrong (itself a generalization) is absurd. Effective communication would cease if generalizations were taken to be invariably wrong.

Oddly, people only seem to take up this ludicrous notion when they are confronted with a statement that they can't argue with in any other way.

This discussion stems from my generalization that PBS and NPR are filled with liberals. That proposition is obviously true. You're hard pressed to find many conservatives in the public broadcasting fold.

Now it would be simple enough, if the proposition was not true, to simply point to thirty or forty self identified conservatives who hold important positions within public broadcasting. As it is, once you get past Tony Brown and Tucker Carlson it gets rather difficult.

But not wanting the proposition to be true, even though it is, because it damages the claim of so called public broadcasting for tax dollars, the riposte is not to provide evidence that the proposition is untrue (because there is no such evidence) but to attack the form of the proposition and when that is denied to attack me personally.

Here is another sweeping generalization. That is typical of fanatics of both the Left and the Right. I always find it amusing to be called things like "a reactionary idiot" by some snot nosed arm chair revolutionary when I have the scars and arrest record from my days in the Civil rights movement, the anti-nuclear movement, the Anti-Vietnam war movement and the Gay rights movement to show my commitment to progressive causes. Likewise I love being called, as I frequently am, a communist, a hippie, or a socialist by right wing jackasses who are unaware of my history as an anti-communist, supporter and personal friend of Barry Goldwater, and former Chairman of the Republican Party in a major American city.

Blind followers of either the Left or the Right are jackasses. (how's that for yet another generalization).
rillifane From: rillifane Date: June 15th, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC) (permalink)
Nor, by the way, is it a matter of my opinion but rather a matter of my observation. The difference is that its my opinion that onion soup is tasty but my observation that it is made with onions.

Not everything is merely a matter of opinion. some things still are a matter of fact.

The individuals involved with NPR and PBS don't make any serious attempt to hide their political viewpoint.

Its just a matter of counting heads.
ldy From: ldy Date: June 15th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC) (permalink)
It's not the money taken from you by the almighty state that's at stake here; it's the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private company funded by the federal government.

I agree that CTW could do without CPB's help. They're more than merely self-sufficient; they're quite profitable. However, I don't believe a show that taught numbers and letters and early education without bias would have received corporate sponsorship on the big three thirty years ago. It wasn't created to be a money-making machine. That it has become one with so much going against it is a testiment to its business model. If they're making six figure incomes, well, good for them. They don't need their CPB grants any more, and that money can and should be given to other grantees.

However, I don't believe that CPB funding should be done away with altogether. Even with 500+ channels of television, there's a lot that commercial TV is either not doing, or is doing poorly.

It's undeniable that the US (Europe, too) appears to be undergoing a process of consolidation of media ownership. Public broadcasting is more important than ever, if only to provide intelligent alternatives to an ever-more homogenous mountain of dreck. I write advertising copy, and I know that smart doesn't sell. It's not hard to see how this concept might influence corporate-based media over the long haul.

In fact, other than PBS, I'd say that TV in general has deteriorated significantly in recent years. I finally got cable for the first time in ten years, and with the exception of two shows, I rarely watch it. I still watch a number of things on PBS, though. Perhaps my left-leaning ways draw me to such liberal programming as Nova and Antiques Roadshow; it's entirely possible that I am merely blind to the bias of these programming choices. I say that tongue firmly in cheek, of course.

For all the cries of "bias!" the Public Broadcasting Act of '67 is pretty specific about what the CPB can and cannot do, and takes meaningful measures to ensure objectivity. I recommend that anybody who hasn't read the Act do so (knowing your background, Rilli, I suspect you already have; but I'll pop the link here for whoever else might want it): http://www.cpb.org/about/history/uscode.html

PBS does other useful educational things beside present programming, like their Ready to Learn Program (developed in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education), TeacherSource (which has helped bring online tools into the classroom), TeacherLine (which provides professional teacher development through online facilitated courses), and PBS Adult Learning Service (which provides college credit TV courses to nearly 500,000 students each academic year).

I haven't seen the data attesting to the usefulness of these programs, but I'd wager that they've had more success overall (and far less political and religious bias) than No Child Left Behind (something I don't particularly like my tax dollars paying for, but hey).

Ultimately, I don't give a rat's ass whether NPR or PBS consist of a gaggle of left wing idealogues or a bunch of right-wing hoola-hoopers. I do not care about their political leanings, religious beliefs or sexual preferences. I don't care if they wear plaid, support peta, or dance around in mickey mouse slippers.

I do care whether they're presenting valuable programming without bias, especially intelligent programming that might not otherwise exist without them and without the CPB's support. I've yet to see any evidence that they are not.
ellie From: ellie Date: June 15th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC) (permalink)
I signed it. If you look a television made for childern, it's rather terrible. I'd rather have my kids watching PBS and not watching Sponge Bob or Fairly Oddparents. Kim Possible, sure, if I have a girl, she can watch that because I think the ferret is cute.
tracytracy From: tracytracy Date: June 16th, 2005 07:42 am (UTC) (permalink)
ferret? nope - naked mole rat ;)
oncogene From: oncogene Date: June 15th, 2005 07:39 pm (UTC) (permalink)
This is very upsetting. I have no idea how something like this could have blindsided the American public. Yes, there were rumors, but how could they do things like this without announcing it?

fritzling From: fritzling Date: June 15th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) (permalink)
I got pissed off when I first heard about the possibilities this last weekend. I was hoping that it was something that was going to get tabled... but nooooooooooooo.
18 tall tales or Tell me a story