The "Big Bird" Debate

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During the first Presidential debate Big Bird and the question to federally fund public broadcasting was thrust to the forefront, sparking online discussion and commentary. Learn more about the federal funding of public broadcasting, PBS's role in America and how Big Bird became part of the online reaction to the debate.

PBS NewsHour: Debate Was 'Watershed' Moment of Multiple Screen Use

Daily Download's Lauren Ashburn and Howard Kurtz talk with Margaret Warner about the explosion of Twitter use during the first presidential debate, the use of Google by viewers to research aspects of the candidates' arguments, the most frequently mentioned terms on Facebook, and Xbox's decision to stream the debate to players.

PBS: Trusted, Valued, Essential

PBS stretches across American communities; learn more about the impact of PBS at

"The whole question of whether "Sesame Street" should receive government funding is part of a larger, fundamental question about the kind of world you want to live in, and the role you see for the government in that world. Me, I'll take a world with Big Bird."
-Nancy Kaffer: Why Debating Big Bird Matters

Read the full article online at the Detroit Free Press

Funding for Public Broadcasting

Federal funding for public broadcasting amounts to just $1.35 per American, per year. Federal funding supports the best news, children’s and music programming available today. Every month more than 170 million Americans – over half of the population of the United States – rely on public broadcasting services. Federal funding for public broadcasting is roughly one one-hundredth of one percent of the federal budget.

If you feel public broadcasting is not—and should not be—a partisan issue. Here are a few things you can do today:

  1. Invite your friends and family to join 170 Million Americans today.
  2. Like the campaign on Facebook.
  3. Follow the campaign on Twitter.
  4. Tell Congress to support public broadcasting by clicking here.

170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting is a collaboration of public radio and television stations, national organizations, producers and our viewers and listeners throughout the country in favor of a strong public media in the United States. This project receives no government funding.

Flash from the Past

Fred Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications to challenge the cuts for public broadcasting proposed in 1969.