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Blogs / Influence

Cutest Protest Ever? Million Muppet March

October 15, 2012
With name dropping during a presidential debate and now a D.C. protest in the works, Big Bird has become one of the more visible figures in the public discourse over federal budget cuts -- and not just because he's 8 feet tall

A Million Muppet March will be hitting D.C. on Nov. 3 to show support for public broadcasting. Reuters reports that the protest is the brainchild of Animax Entertainment president Michael Bellavia and Boise State University student Chris Mecham, who independently hatched the idea then joined forces.

The Sesame Street character has become a talking point of sorts among some Republicans as they talk about reducing the deficit through budget cuts. During the Oct. 3 presidential debate, Republican nominee Mitt Romney professed his love for the big yellow guy while also saying he'd pull funding for public broadcasting as part of his plan to lower the deficit.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., was a little more, um, graphic in his description of what he'd do to Big Bird. At an event last month decrying automatic sequestration cuts to the National Institutes of Health, Bilbray said, "if there comes a choice between Big Bird or cancer research - look, no matter how much you love Big Bird, Big Bird gets fried and sold for funds for NIH. I know that sounds crude."

But is Big Bird the best symbol for budget reduction? The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS, faces a potential 8.2 percent cut to its federally budgeted $445 million, according to the latest White House Office of Management and Budget report. And the show receives much of its money from corporate sponsors rather than from PBS. But Sesame Workshop pointed out earlier this month, they are "dependent on PBS to distribute" the show around the country.
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