Wednesday night at the first presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney promised to end public financing of America’s largest classroom — PBS. “I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things,” the ex-governor said. “I like PBS, I love Big Bird.”
Critics immediately seized on Romney’s comments, pointing out that the former CEO of Bain Capital was already thinking about the imaginary characters he would fire as president. Some suggested that Romney should merely outsource Big Bird to China, where using Bain’s market expertise, he could find child laborers to emulate Big Bird at a fraction of current costs.
PBS — an organization familiar with Republicans calling for its defunding — seized the opportunity to defend its efforts. “The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget,” the organization said in a statement. “Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt. Yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”
The statement went on to explain that PBS understands Mr. Romney’s concerns and wishes to appeal to all Americans with its programming.
“This is why we are proud to announce the newest member of the Sesame Street family — ‘Big Oil’.”
Big Oil is a lovable, mushy fellow who finds his way into the neighborhood when Elmo accidentally tips over an oil tanker outside Hooper’s shop. Everywhere Big Oil goes, he leaves a trail of toxic ooze that his friends “The Lobbyists” paper over with actual dollar bills. This creates such a disgusting mess that even Oscar the Grouch will be convinced to clean up and get on antidepressants, which will be provided by one of several new corporate sponsors also set to join the Sesame Street family.
Mr. Romney defended subsidies for the oil industry in the same debate he promised to fire Big Bird: “First of all, the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year,” Romney said. “And it’s actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that’s been in place for a hundred years.”
“If this works out,” the PBS statement concludes, “next season we’ll meet Big Oil’s imaginary friend, ‘Clean Coal.'”
With America’s long tradition of sucking up oil and sucking up to the oil companies, Big Oil may be PBS’ best hope for surviving a Romney Administration — especially since Mr. Rogers isn’t around to make the case anymore:
Photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File