Pair pursue plans to mount Million Muppet March on National Mall

Two pubcasting fans in different cities who separately conceived plans for a “Million Muppet March” (later renamed Million Puppet March) in support of public broadcasting have teamed up to try to organize the event on Nov. 3 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Michael Bellavia, 42, of Los Angeles, and Chris Mecham, 46, of Boise, Idaho, were watching the presidential debate on Oct. 3 when Republican nominee Mitt Romney said that he would end subsidies to PBS if elected. Even before the debate ended, Bellavia had secured the URL, and Mecham created the Million Muppet March Facebook page. “We just merged the two into one effort,” said Bellavia, president of Animax Entertainment, an animation production studio in Los Angeles.

Fight over NPR funding: is it a “culture war,” or principled debate?

What’s really at stake in the battle over federal funding to NPR, and how can the field’s advocates make the best case for continued support? Public broadcasters began speaking out last week in friendly venues, testing their message points and strategizing about whether and how to mount a more aggressive campaign to enlist broad public support. At yesterday’s Public Media Camp in Washington, D.C., attendees discussed the political attack with Jay Rosen, press critic and j-school professor at New York University, who participated via Skype in a session on the response to the “culture war.” Rosen, who described himself as sympathetic to the fight to preserve federal funding, called for a blogger — one who works independently and outside of NPR and PBS — to report on the debate, critique press coverage of it, and call out the “most outrageous statements” from the field’s partisan critics. “A blogger’s job is to intervene in public debate and make it smarter,” Rosen said.