PBS Statement Regarding October 3 Presidential Debate
The Public Broadcasting Service has issued an official response to Mitt Romney’s statement last night that he plans to fire Big Bird: PBS Statement Regarding October 3 Presidential Debate.
ARLINGTON, VA - October 4, 2012 - 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 percent 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.
Over the course of a year, 91% of all U.S. television households tune in to their local PBS station. In fact, our service is watched by 81% of all children between the ages of 2-8.
Each day, the American public receives an enduring and daily return on investment that is heard, seen, read and experienced in public media broadcasts, apps, podcasts and online - all for the cost of about $1.35 per person per year.