<strong>WATCH: Romney Loves Bird Bird<br /></strong>
Conservatives might have loved the moment when Mitt Romney said he was going to cut the subsidy to PBS, but the network didn’t take too kindly to it.
PBS fired back at Romney on Thursday, with CEO Paula Kerger telling CNN Newsroom’s Carol Costello that it was a “stunning” moment that Big Bird was being debated.
Romney told PBS Newshour moderator Jim Lehrer that he was going to stop the subsidy to PBS as an example of a cut to reduce the federal budget deficit.
“I like PBS, I love Big Bird, I actually like you too, but I’m going to stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don’t need,” Romney said.
Kerger said it was an “unbelievable” statement.
“With the enormous problems facing our country, the fact that we are the focus is just unbelievable to me, particularly given the fact that at another part of the debate, both candidates talked about the importance of education,” she said, via Politico.
“We’re America’s biggest classroom. We touch children across the country in every home, whether you have books in your home or computer or not, almost everyone has a television set. And so we’re able to bring kids across the country not just enjoyable programs, but programs that help them prepare and get ready for school, with core curriculum in maths and science and literacy.”
PBS also released a lengthy statement on its website. Here it is, in part:
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 per cent 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.
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