House of Representatives Launches New Offensive in War on Sesame Street

Yeah, it's offensive all right. The Republican sponsored budget bill passed the House this afternoon. Among other things, the bill shuts down all funding for National Public Radio and PBS television.

Now, OK - I know that NPR is something of the "Democrat" radio station, more or less the liberal answer to the ultra-right FOX news stations. I can understand that being a target under fire by the right while they have the power to do so. Undermine the left's media, and you undermine the left's ability to get their arguments out. Much like the concerted attacks on unions throughout the country, that's sort of an expected strike. I don't approve, mind you - but I do understand it.

But PBS? Seriously?

I can see it now - Republicans campaigning on the slogans "Death to Big Bird!" and "Elmo leads the way to wickedness!"

No, I can't see that. Won't see that. Because they know darned well they'd never survive the public backlash.

Folks, these shows are important. They provide education to kids whose families don't have the thousands of dollars to spend on pre-school. There's literally no good alternative station out there. Disney offers a variety of fairly standard shlop - entertaining, sure, but not educational.

Sesame Street is practically a national institution. It is that way because it has had value for generation after generation of viewers, kids who've learned their letters, learned to count, learned how to get along with others, learned about friendship, about music, about reading, about...well, about most of the more important things in life, I think. The show has stuck around through all these decades because it is one of the best TV programs ever produced, period.

The other shows on PBS have a much higher than usual focus on learning, too. Fun learning, sure - but shows like Super Readers, Dinosaur Train, and Sid the Science Kid are all about learning while kids are entertained. And they work.

I think that this attack on the education of our kids is inexcusable. I think it is shameful. And I hope the folks that voted for it get the treatment they deserve by their children, when they get home tonight.

Most of all, I hope our Senate and/or President have the sanity to kill this bill cold.