Should Big Bird be on the bubble?

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by Marites Woodbury

Is public broadcasting dispensable?

There has been much talk after presidential candidate Mitt Romney stated he wanted to cut funding for public broadcasting to help reduce our nation’s deficit. The comment spawned a virtual outrage – patrons fiercely defended the cause while others quickly went to defend Romney’s stance. Before the debate was even over, a parody Big Bird account was created and now has more than 28-thousand followers.

Despite Romney’s comments in the first debate, Big Bird will live on. In an interview with CNN, Sesame Street’s executive vice president Sherrie Westin said the show receives most of its funding from corporate sponsorships, sales, and donations.

However, other PBS shows and rural stations that sometimes receive 40-60 percent of their funding through the federal government, according to ABC News, may not be so fortunate.

Emily Fox, a producer and host at NPR’s Michigan Radio, said that public broadcasting provides a service locally. Nothing compares to it.

“What people don’t realize,” Fox said, “is that this would hurt people locally the most.”

Fox said that public radio has been the most fulfilling activity in which she has ever been involved.

“It’s a chance to tell stories, to do entire features on affairs that would normally get overlooked,” Fox said.

She added, “Public radio provides a voice for the people and a chance for them to listen and potentially talk back. It’s about telling stories about revitalization and art in the town I was born in. It’s all about giving those things a voice.”

Preschool teacher Dayle McCleod said that public broadcasting plays an essential role in early education. He believes it is key to a child’s development and future.

“Sometimes it’s really hard for me to take that step back and actually enjoy where I’m at in my life,” said McCleod. “Then I remember that the work I do leaves an impression on the generations to come and that I am an essential aspect of so many young peoples lives.

“I feel the same way about public broadcasting. It provides a service for others that is essential and is more often than not, overlooked.”

However, there are others who disagree and do not think public broadcasting has a place in our national budget.

Pre-dental Michigan State senior Gryffin Moon said that public broadcasting is of no value to him and thinks it is not something he should be forced to pay for.

“I don’t watch anything on PBS or listen to public radio,” said Moon.

“It’s of no interest to me and I shouldn’t have to pay for it. Make the people who want it pay for it with a subscription service of some kind but don’t steal money right from my pocket. I’d rather have it go towards a cause I feel actually matters.”

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