U.S. Congress Puts a Hit Out on Big Bird. Bird Rolls Successful Saving Throw.
Before last week, the U.S. House of Representatives was committed to making sure that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) would lose its entire $451 million budget when they passed a continuing resolution (H.R.1) de-funding the CPB in the 2011 federal budget. Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by Republican Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Funding for the CPB, which doles out money to National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), was a major debate topic in the showdown last Friday over the 2011 budget. Some members of Congress thought it was so important to de-fund public broadcasting, that they were willing to shut down the government over it. In the end, the threat to public broadcasting was eliminated when President Barack Obama negotiated CPB funding out of the “cuts” column.
So while this is mostly a moot issue for the immediate future, it is inevitable that CPB funding will come up again in the 2012 federal budget talks. and that means we need to talk about it, because CPB funds one of the best media organizations for parents and children currently available on the air: PBS. Let me tell you why you should give a crap that some members of Congress (probably even yours) want to kill PBS. Let me tell you what PBS has done for you lately…
PBS Has A Deep Broadcasting Schedule And Doesn’t Sell Your Kids Garbage.
First of all, PBS programming includes a total of 7 hours of programming for kids EVERY DAY. The average commercial channel airs only about 4 hours of children’s programming each WEEK! Now, of course I’m not suggesting that seven hours of teevee is good for your kids every day, but PBS offers a lot more material to draw from. PBS offers more options and flexibility than a commercial channel.
PBS offers some great shows for kids, mostly oriented towards literacy or problem-solving. Some of my family’s favorites are SUPER WHY!, Dinosaur Train, Word World, and Sid the Science Kid. These are great programs that have been able to keep my kiddos interested, and even dancing and reading in front of the television (something their 8-bit dad never used to do watching Thundercats).
Another great aspect of PBS is that the available programming is commercial-free. Unlike commercial television stations that have to interrupt their fart-jokes-laden cartoons every six minutes so they can blast rapidly-flashing Skittles and cereal ads at your kids, PBS can avoid doing that. Their programming seems to have more content and continuity for it, as well.