Save Big Bird, and save PBS

by Oct 8, 2012 10:48 am Tags: , , , ,

Thyra Phan is a Spartan Daily staff writer. Follow her on Twitter at @ThyraPhan

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney lost my vote after announcing his plans to cut government spending to PBS at the first presidential debate.

While I understand the need to reduce excessive government spending, the Public Broadcasting Service should not be one of the programs affected.

According to a statement by PBS in response to Romney's comment, the federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget, therefore elimination of funding would be minimal on the nation’s debt.

If Romney supports education, then why is he willing to cut funding on educational programs that reach a vast majority of Americans?

About 91 percent of all U.S. television households and 236 million people watch PBS yearly, according to

According to, children who watched Sesame Street in preschool spend more time reading for leisure in high school and obtain higher grades in English, math and science.

I don’t think Romney likes Big Bird as much as he claims. Perhaps his ploy to cut PBS funding was to incite outrage from American viewers.

PBS does not solely rely on government funding, so if it were to be cut, this would only show his lack of support for public broadcasting.

According to, PBS receives funding from businesses, corporations for public broadcasting and individual members, hence their infamous tag, “Made possible by contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.”

As a self-proclaimed PBS Kid, I am insulted that Romney plans on cutting support for programs that were the pillar of my childhood.

We were unable to afford cable television, so KQED 9 was the only clear channel we received and it aired programs from the public broadcasting system.

PBS's array of food programming sparked my love for culture and cuisine.

Jacques Pépin taught me how to cook the perfect omelet. Martin Yan taught me to embrace my Asian roots as I learned how to sauté and stir-fry traditional classics, such as dumplings or curries.

It was through "Barney and Friends" that I learned how to sing and delve into a world of imagination. In retrospect, my love for the purple dinosaur may seem childish, but when I was a kid, I never went a day without watching Barney.

Every day, I would come home from school and watch ZOOM, a show “by kids, for kids.” I learned how to conduct science experiments using instruments found in my own house. Most importantly, I learned how to speak another language, called Ubbi Dubbi, where “UB” is placed in front of every vowel.

Although Ubbi Dubbi is a completely fabricated language and useless (such as speaking Pig Latin), the fact is I took the time to learn a language from a kid’s television show.

What good will come out of cutting funding for these programs? Other than PBS, what channel will provide children with the fundamental basics of science or mathematics?

According to, 82 percent of kids between the ages of 2 to 8 have watched PBS this season.

Romney needs to reconsider the choice to cut government funding for PBS.

Not only do we need to save Big Bird, but we also need to preserve quality educational programming for children.

One thought on “Save Big Bird, and save PBS

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