Believing In Big Bird This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   With more and more cuts in government spending proposed by the new Congress, the latest enemy we are said to be facing is not involved with crime or drugs. According to the Republican majority, the latest enemy is none other than Big Bird. Big Bird, you ask? Yes, Big Bird, that same lovable Muppet, who taught you your ABCs and how to count to ten in Spanish, is now in danger of extinction. His threats aren't linked to environmental concerns, but financial ones. If the proposed spending cuts on PBS is passed, shows like Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow would either have to halt production, find more funding, or move to commercial broadcasting. By depriving PBS of government funds, will we also be depriving our children of quality programming?

If programming like Reading Rainbow and Lamb Chop's Play-Along didn't exist, the entire children's television market would be a wasteland of commercialism and violence. No matter how annoying Barney the dinosaur may be, I'm pretty sure that he is teaching the children of America a lot more than the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. By depriving the funds necessary for the survival of PBS, children may have no other choice than to submit themselves to programming bombarded with commercials. Sure, Nickelodeon provides educational shows for children, but are seven minutes of commercials each half hour a part of healthy viewing habit for our youth?

Another reason why PBS is getting so much flack is because in the eyes of conservatives, it tends to show a large share of liberal-minded programming. The purpose of PBS is to provide government-funded, educational programming for everyone, which doesn't mean just conservatives. Taxpayers' dollars should be helped to fund the different tastes of all taxpayers, not just a certain sector.

With children growing up today in a society that uses television as a baby-sitter, it is important that the utmost care be involved in producing children's television. PBS has inscribed itself as one of the most reliable institutions to create such programming. After all, who would you rather have babysitting your children, Big Bird or Beavis and Butthead? ?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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