Looks like the “Big Bird defense” (Current, Nov. 29) might not be as effective in preserving public broadcasting funding as it was in the mid-’90s, when the yellow-feathered, towering character showed up on Capitol Hill to save the day. Back then, “it was Big Bird that killed us,” former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston (R-La.) acknowledged to Fox News just last month.
In an interview published today (Dec. 4) with Americans for Limited Government, Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a leader in the effort to defund CPB, said that shows such as Sesame Street “are thriving, multimillion-dollar enterprises.”
“According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file,” he added, “Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 — nearly a million dollars — in compensation in 2008. And, from 2003 to 2006, Sesame Street made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales. Big Bird will be just fine without his federal subsidies.”