One million puppets did not show up for the Million Puppet March in Washington, D.C., but the event did bring with it plenty of awareness for PBS efforts.
Hundreds of marchers dressed as Elmo, Cookie Monster, Kermit, and Big Bird lined the streets of Washington on Saturday as they chanted “El-mo, we won’t go!”
Speaking to the AFP, a co-organizer for the event revealed:
“We’re just making it clear that public media matters and it’s something that we want to see supported and we still want to see federal funding of.”
The Million Puppet March was organized after GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney proclaimed in recent weeks that he would shut down funding for PBS.
While the event was geared towards keeping public funding alive, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting distanced themselves from the protest. According to a statement from the CPB:
“We appreciate the recent outpouring of support and affirmation for the value of public broadcasting.”
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting receives nearly $450 million annually from the Federal government. Federal money supports approximately 15 percent of the CPB’s total annual spending budget.
Supporters of PBS have called the $450 million only a “small fraction” of government spending. Opponents to PBS say, during a downward economic spiral, they need to conserve money wherever they can.
Mitt Romney continues to support plans that would cut funding to PBS, and, in the process, he has made Big Bird a national symbol for the fight against cuts to educational programs in the United States.