Thursday, October 04, 2012

PBS Blasts Romney's Snide Threat To Defund Public Broadcasting, Eliminate Big Bird and Fire Jim Lehrer

by Gregg Chadwick

Graphic by Txvoodoo


Last night's Presidential Debate revealed a new Romney style to the public: a smirking, manipulative and untruthful Mitt whose only strategy seemed to be lying baldfacedly about his policy ideas. Already, Romney has had to admit that he pushed misinformation in the debate to , the author of the brilliant new book - The New New Deal 

I agree with Paul Krugman and Tyler Green: Most of the commentary about last night's debate seems to be "theater criticism." MSNBC even pulled James Lipton on-screen, host of Inside The Actors Studio, to critique the debate as if it were simply a theatrical romp. Romney, admittedly. delivered his lines forcefully and often condescendingly, but his words were full of evasion, hesitation, mis-truth, and outright lies. Romney came across as an infomercial huckster. 

In contrast President Obama was calm, empathetic, often bemused, professorial, a bit wonky at times,  and presidential.    

The take away from the debate seems to be Romney's snide threat to defund PBS, eliminate Big Bird, and fire Jim Lehrer. Responding to Mitt's comments and public shock at the casual way Romney proposed to off a beloved children's icon, PBS released a statement this morning. (Full Text Below) 

Romney's comment is so revealing because it is one of the few times that Mitt has actually presented a target of his proposed budget cuts. Romney is extremely vague on policy details and usually fails to describe clearly the vast and unpopular cuts that his style of governing would necessitate. The PBS statement released today reveals that "The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating." 

There is no real fiscal argument to make for the elimination of PBS from the federal budget. Instead, it is the first volley in a proposed culture war that Romney's moneyed and bigoted right-wing backers want to wage against our increasingly open-minded and inclusive society. Most reactionary movements begin with huge doses of anti-intellectualism and a purge of educators, authors and artists. By threatening to kill off Big Bird, Romney unwittingly drew a line in the sand that he deftly attempted to sidestep during last night's debate. Romney and his anti 47% cronies are coming after all of us and they want to start with our children.

I'll let Samuel L. Jackson have the last word today: 

PBS Statement Regarding October 3 Presidential Debate
ARLINGTON, VA – October 4, 2012 – We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation. We think it is important to set the record straight and let the facts speak for themselves.

The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.

A national survey by the bipartisan research firms of Hart Research and American Viewpoint in 2011 found that over two-thirds of American voters (69%) oppose proposals to eliminate government funding of public broadcasting, with Americans across the political spectrum against such a cut.

As a stated supporter of education, Governor Romney should be a champion of public broadcasting, yet he is willing to wipe out services that reach the vast majority of Americans, including underserved audiences, such as children who cannot attend preschool and citizens living in rural areas.

For more than 40 years, Big Bird has embodied the public broadcasting mission – harnessing the power of media for the good of every citizen, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay. Our system serves as a universally accessible resource for education, history, science, arts and civil discourse.

Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8.

Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online – all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.

Earlier in 2012, a Harris Interactive poll confirmed that Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second most valuable use of public funds, behind only national defense, for the 9th consecutive year.

A key thing to remember is that public television and radio stations are locally owned and community focused and they are experts in working efficiently to make limited resources produce results. In fact, for every $1.00 of federal funding invested, they raise an additional $6.00 on their own – a highly effective public-private partnership.

Numerous studies -- including one requested by Congress earlier this year -- have stated categorically that while the federal investment in public broadcasting is relatively modest, the absence of this critical seed money would cripple the system and bring its services to an end.

Learn more at: http://valuepbs.org/.
and at http://www.pbs.org/about/news/archive/2012/statement-presidential-debate/

About PBS
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 123 million people through television and more than 21 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website,pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available atwww.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on TwitterFacebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

CONTACT:

Anne Bentley, awbentley@pbs.org, 703-739-5021
Jan McNamara, jmcnamara@pbs.org, 703-739-5028


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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Marriage for All Families: Stories From The Four 2012


Marriage Equality is on the ballot in four states this November: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. The Four 2012 has created an active, evolving campaign that brings the issues around Marriage Equality to light. Each day a new video or graphic will be posted and supporters of Marriage Equality are encouraged to repost the content via Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and emails.  Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga are featured in supportive ads on The Four 2012 website.

The Springsteen graphic created for the campaign reads: 
Listen to The Boss

 "The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is - a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law."

I couldn't agree more with that statement and urge those who support equal treatment for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now.
-Bruce Springsteen

 The Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker, retweeted the Springsteen image yesterday and added:

 
Cory Booker
Yes, Bruce truly Rocks! RT : Have you seen what The Boss says about marriage equality? CC: 






The Lady Gaga graphic reads: 
This November Vote for marriage equality.

 I think that gay marriage is going to happen. It must.

We are not actually equal - humanity - if we are not allowed to freely love one another.

-Lady Gaga







Marriage for All Families: Stories From Maine


Published on Oct 2, 2012 by 
The first of a four-part series made in each of the states that have marriage equality votes this November, this short shares the experiences of same-sex couples who want to get married in Maine.

They have the same challenges, responsibilities, and aspirations as any other couple--but they are strangers in the eyes of the law. That's why marriage equality is so important: it aligns personality reality with legal reality, as a simple matter of fairness.

The series is produced in association with The Four, a social media campaign to support marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington State. Learn more and get involved at http://TheFour.com.

Film produced by Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll.
Music by Timmy's Work.

THANKS:
Ralph Baldwin, Jonathan Lee, Ian Grady, Marc DiCenzo, Steven Gustavo Emmons, Ryan Davis, Richard Socarides, Brian Ellner, and Jett House.

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Art and Social Justice

I am honored to be speaking at UCLA today on Art & Social Justice.    

More to Follow...

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