Monday, March 14, 2011

Sesame Street Will Survive (But Elmo Must DIE!)

Both sides have missed something in the debate over taxpayers funding National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service.

It's not about keeping "quality" and/or "educational" or "children's" (or pick your favorite buzzword) programming on broadcast television.  With cable and the Internet, there are plenty of options to choose from for programming that qualifies as any buzzword you can think of (my current fav happens to be Netflix).  And as for the minority that rely solely on broadcast TV, the PBS option will survive (more on that in a minute).  I don't imagine any of them listening to NPR.  Really.

And it's not about ideology.  I don't give a shit how liberal NPR may be or if Sesame Street is going to create a lead-in to gay families (yes, I've seen the segment).  Because the fact is that the show is a successful marketing juggernaut for a reason:  because they attract and retain an audience.

In fact, since I've cut the cable networks out, I've had local PBS kids programming on more often, as Nickelodeon and Disney got the boot in the process.  And my daughter is on right now (since it involved teaching her how to type a url to find something online).  And as I get used to no drone from the 24/7 news (which I used to turn on when talk radio got me bored), I might find myself using PBS as good white noise programming (because I despise most network TV (and their insipid commercials)).

This brings me to the reason public broadcasting should be defunded.  With the current breadth of options to get all of the things that you once could only find on PBS and NPR, there's no need for the government to take taxpayer money and spend it to prop up any broadcaster.  And in this time of ungodly debt, the idea we have to finance anything and everything is beyond ridiculous

The result of this will be what you would expect.  Stations that don't do a good job fundraising (which they all do) and can't retain corporate sponsorship (which they all also do) will fall by the wayside and shutter themselves.  The ones that don't will step it up and improve their programming with the cheaper options now available (like the computer animated shows that litter both PBSkids and their cable rivals), or use the decades of quality programming that is, in many cases, ageless to cut the amount of production costs they have.  In addition, there's plenty of independent documentaries that would be inexpensive to acquire.

The point is that there are options.  Perhaps a few more sponsors and a few commercials between shows will creep in (as adding commercials every 10-15 minutes is the fastest way to piss off their viewers).  It's nothing new.

For example, you'll see all these organizations and companies mentioned at the beginning of Sesame Street (link): The Public Broadcasting Service, the Department of Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, McDonalds Corporation, and Beaches Family Resorts.  The first three, of course, would be cut, as two are the funding we're talking about cutting, and the Department of Education needs to be killed completely for the simple reason that it's mostly a waste.  In fact, sponsoring Sesame Street is the least wasteful thing they do.  The others are BIIIIG EEEEEEVIL corporations, including the great fattener of children, McDonalds.  And that's not including whatever money Sesame Street pulls in from licensing the insipid image of the little red devil, Elmo, on everything they can print that unholy Muppet spawn onto, as well as all the other Muppets I don't hate with a passion.

Getting back to the point, there are plenty of ways to fund programming like this.  And if you want this programming, you'll do what you need to to support and finance it.  And as we get away from relying on the government to finance everything and start returning to a system where the people, by their financial choices, decide what survives, then the best will thrive, the good survive.  And everybody wins (except the whiners).


dmarks said...

Official government news-media is for the likes of North Korea, not a free republic.

So zero it out immediately. No spending at all. And I'd say this if it happened to be Rush Limbaugh's main network to use to broadcast. The politics of it does not matter. It's a pure waste.

'In fact, sponsoring Sesame Street is the least wasteful thing they do'

Can't they also be cut loose, and make all their money from the marketing of Elmo, etc dolls?

Patrick M said...

Dmarks: Sponsoring Sesame Street IS the least wasteful thing the Department of Education does.

Of course, since the whole department should be on the chopping block, I guess they won't be funding the demonic Elmo juggernaut either.

Now if the GOP would just kill it....

Toad734 said...

The ironic thing is that in a recent UCLA study, the most centrist news program on TV was NewsHour With Jim Lehrer followed by News Night with Aaron Brown...Clearly Faux News was on the far right on center and that's why the Republicans want to shut down NPR because we just spent far more on Tomahawk cruise missiles than what NPR receives in funding...They just don't like facts and that's what NPR provides because unlike Faux, they aren't simply and entertainment show....If you want to save money you don't start by cutting funding for NPR, you start by cutting the military budget and then move on to health care costs...The funding for NPR might buy a couple of cruise missiles but that's about it and won't make a drop in a bucket difference on our budget sheet.

dmarks said...

Toad, get real. The far right has no representation in major media, at all. Also, are you too stupid to spell Fox? You remind me of the juveniles who called Clinton "Klinton" for some reason. Grow up.

The real reason Republicans want to stop wasting tax money on NPR is because it is a pure waste. And of course having government control/involvement in news like this is a major hallmark of a fascist state. We don't need to be more like North Korea.

It is a lie that anyone wants to shut down NPR or PBS.

"The funding for NPR might buy a couple of cruise missiles but that's about it and won't make a drop in a bucket difference on our budget sheet."

The deficit problem is made up entirely of little pieces of pure waste like this that someone will defend saying that it's only a little bit.

dmarks said...

Also, I'd rather have the money go to a couple of cruise missiles than go to NPR and PBS.

The cruise missiles will make the world a better place by damaging the power of a dictator of terrorisr.

NPR/PBS are one building block of a fascist state. One half of a "Ministry of Information".

First, the government provides its own official information agency.

The next step, which has not happened thanks to getting rid of the Fairness Doctrine, is the government banning alternative views.

Toad734 said...

No right wing media?? You mean aside from:
Faux News / News Corporation
Clear Channel
Rush Limbaugh
The Drudge Report
NY Post
Washington Times
Weekly Standard
National Review
Sean Hannity Radio
Laura Ingraham Radio
Glenn Beck Radio
Rush Limbaugh Radio

You're right, there is no conservative representation in the media...Every time I think you have said the dumbest thing possible, you always find a way to top yourself.

Patrick M said...

Toad: A simple point of clarification. I don't want to see NPR or PBS shuttered. I don't care about their ideology. My only requirement is that they compete in the marketplace like every other media outlet. That means killing the corporate welfare that government subsidies are. Period.

dmarks said...

Toad said: ""No right wing media??"

Actually, you mentioned the FAR right. I pointed out the fact that they have no representation in the mainstream media.

Then you listed some sources, mostly conservative, that did not have the far right in them. All mainstream. I guess you proved my point.

'You're right, there is no conservative representation in the media"

No, I said there was no far right representation. Not "no conservative representation". Remember, not everyone who disagrees with you is far/extreme.

"Every time I think you have said the dumbest thing possible, you always find a way to top yourself."

You intentionally misquoted me. You are a liar, Toad. Can you deal with what I actually said for once?

dmarks said...

Good points Patrick.

I don't want the New York Times to receive wasteful gifts of taxpayer dollars. Does this mean I want it censored? Of course not.

I hold the exact same view for NPR and PBS.