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Big Bird joins list of unwitting – and unwilling – campaign props

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#1 Joker

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 05:29 PM

"Sesame Street's" objection to the use of Big Bird as a political prop has churned plenty of headlines over the last week, but it's hardly the first time this year a prominent name has protested an unwitting campaign appearance.

From Exxon to AARP to several national journalists, a growing number of well-known groups and individuals have taken exception when either President Obama or GOP nominee Mitt Romney invoked them – without notice or approval – to hammer home a political message.

While those organizations have plenty to gain from the national attention a campaign-trail shout-out can generate, they seem more wary that appearances of
supporting one side or the other could alienate a huge segment of the country, potentially costing them customers, members or even influence on Capitol Hill.

Such pushback has long been a trend in the music industry, with numerous cases of candidates picking campaign rally music – from Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" – only to have the artists protest, usually over politics. But this year's public challenges from companies and individuals thrust involuntarily into the campaign spotlight have been unusual, and perhaps suggests a new normal in an age of free Web ads and media overload, when anything can be used as fodder by candidates scrambling to get an edge on their opponents.

The latest episode, featuring Big Bird, has triggered the most buzz. During last Wednesday's debate in Denver, Romney threatened to end funding for PBS, the federally subsidized broadcast network that airs "Sesame Street," arguing that the country simply can't afford to keep it running.

"I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually, I like you, too,” Romney said to debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS's "NewsHour." “But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."

Obama pounced, referencing the threat to Big Bird in a series of stump speeches in the days that followed. On Tuesday, his campaign doubled down on that message, releasing an ad suggesting that Big Bird, in Romney's eyes, is as menacing as Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay and other corporate titans convicted of financial crimes.



#2 TEO



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Posted 11 October 2012 - 07:21 PM


#3 moed_over


    He saw the spinning lights he knew it was a sign....

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 02:07 AM


#4 Joker

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:37 PM

'Million Muppet March' Planned To Defend PBS After Romney Big Bird Comments

Oct 12 (Reuters) - Plans to save Big Bird, the fuzzy yellow character on U.S. public television's "Sesame Street," from possible extinction are taking shape in the form of a puppet-based protest next month dubbed the "Million Muppet March."

The demonstration is planned for Nov. 3 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., three days before the general election.

Before the presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney had concluded on Oct. 3, two men who had never met each floated the Million Muppet March idea on social media. They immediately united to defend public broadcasting.

Romney pledged during the debate to end the U.S. federal government's subsidy for the Public Broadcasting Service despite his professed love for Big Bird, one of the characters on PBS's 43-year-old children's educational program "Sesame Street," which features the Muppets.

Michael Bellavia, 43, an animation executive from Los Angeles, and Chris Mecham, 46, a university student in Idaho, separately came up with the Million Muppet March idea in response.

Big Bird, played by actor Carroll Spinney in an 8-foot (2.5-metre) bird costume, is strictly speaking not a member of the group of puppet characters known as the Muppets.

Bellavia bought the Internet address www.millionmuppetmarch.com during the debate and discovered Mecham had already started a Facebook page by the same name.

Within 30 minutes of the end of the debate they were on the phone with each other, planning the march.

"I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event," Bellavia said. "I literally just said, 'It's happening.'"

Both men consider themselves fans of "Sesame Street," perhaps the best-known program on PBS, which received $445 million of $3.8 trillion in federal budget outlays in 2012.

Coming from rural Idaho, Mecham said he was aware how important public broadcasting was in sparsely populated areas that receive no other signals over the air.

"Romney was using Muppets as a rhetorical device to talk about getting rid of public broadcasting, which is really so much bigger than Sesame Street," Mecham said. "While he was still talking I was thinking of ways I could express my frustration at that argument. Before the debates were over I had put up the Million Muppet March Facebook page."

The two men said they immediately decided to work together.

Mecham is a writer who is studying political science at Boise State University out of his interest in healthcare policy.

Bellavia is president of the animation studio Animax Entertainment, founded by former Second City actor Dave Thomas.

They may fall short of attracting a million people, or Muppets, to the event, but they do hope to create what Bellavia called a "lovefest" featuring skits and musical performances with Muppets.

"It does seem like we might get close to the biggest ever assemblage of puppets in one place," he said, "and probably the most ever puppets marching on Washington."

The Million Man March was a gathering held on the National Mall on Oct. 16, 1995 to promote civil rights, with an emphasis on African Americans, and was led by rights advocate Louis Farrakhan. (Editing by Eric Walsh)


#5 In A Silent Way

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:07 PM

The private sector would gladly invest in Sesame Street. The licensing is a huge money-maker.

oops, I didn't mean to post in a political thread, but there it is

#6 Joker

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:27 PM

I am IASW and I am now a political hack

#7 PeaceFrog

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 02:56 AM

The private sector would gladly invest in Sesame Street. The licensing is a huge money-maker.

oops, I didn't mean to post in a political thread, but there it is

yes, of course they would.

But, do you really want Pepsi and Doritos educating your children?

this is funny, but true at the same time -- check it out:


#8 elder

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

But, do you really want Pepsi and Doritos educating your children?

No, I'd rather have the govt educate them. Because of their outstanding success with the public education in this country.

#9 PeaceFrog

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 03:54 PM

How do you expect public education to get better by defunding it?

This is what happens when you elect anti-government people to work for the government.

The government is US (you, and me, and all citizens collectively). Elected officials are public servants. We have to choose people who want to work with us, not against us.

Would you buy a wolf to guard your sheep?