It wasn't nearly a million by the Count's best standards, but hundreds gamely rallied in support of Big Bird and public funding for PBS in Washington, DC, yesterday with chants of "El-mo, we won't go!" reports CNN. Many a Kermit, Cookie Monster, and other puppets joined the so-called Million Puppet March to the Reflecting Pool, taking aim at Mitt Romney's threat to take Big Bird off the public dole. "We're just making it clear that public media matters and it's something that we want to see supported and we still want to see federal funding of," a co-organizer of the march tells the AFP.
Many protesters brought their kids to the event. Said one of PBS: "I grew up on it. It's a foundation for our children today." Both PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting carefully held the protest at arm's length, though the latter released a statement saying, "We appreciate the recent outpouring of support and affirmation for the value of public broadcasting." CPB takes in about $450 million from the feds each year, which amounts to about 15% of CPB's total spending, and what supporters call a mere fraction of the national budget. But critics counter that with deficits spiraling upward, the blood-letting has to start somewhere: "The Big Bird fracas illustrates how out of touch with reality our budget fights have become," says a conservative think-tank analyst. (Read more PBS stories.)