It was only a matter of time before PBS CEO Paula Kerger fired back at Mitt Romney for his comments about the future of Big Bird’s home during last night’s Presidential debate when Romney told moderator veteran Jim Lehrer, “I’m sorry Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. 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.”
CEO of PBS Paula Kerger a day later has given her reaction and has said that it was “stunning” how Mitt Romney singled out the network. Kerger, who spoke with CNN’s Carol Costello on Thursday morning, made sure that everyone knew what was on her mind in regards to Romney’s comments about the future of Big Bird’s block, saying:
“With the enormous problems facing our country, the fact that we are the focus is just unbelievable to me.”
The highlight of Kerger’s interview was when she brought the debate’s focus on education back around, saying that PBS is “America’s biggest classroom,” she continued, “This is not about the budget. It has to be about politics.”
This isn’t the first time she has rumbled with Mitt Romney. In fact, she spoke out against his stance on TV funding back in January when Romney criticized the public funding that PBS receives. Kerger had said at the time that she recognized “the United States has to make tough budget decisions” but “defended PBS as an effective public-private partnership.”
This time around sometime after the debate, PBS released a statement aimed at Mitt Romney, stating,
“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.”
The statement went on to give the facts, stating,
“Earlier in 2012, a Harris Interactive poll confirmed that Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second most valuable use of public funds, behind only national defense, for the 9th consecutive year.”
For over 40 years, Big Bird and his friends have been teaching children many lessons, growing generations while keeping relevant with the times.
Do you think Mitt Romney’s comments about Big Bird were out of line?