In reality, of course, PBS affiliates have become increasingly corporatized. As GOP Sen. Jim DeMint noted last year, franchises like Sesame Street "are multimillion-dollar enterprises capable of thriving in the private market. According to the 990 tax form all nonprofits are required to file, 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."
Sesame Street has also become increasingly politicized. Under the Obama administration, Elmo has lobbied for the FCC's national broadband plan and the first lady's Big Nanny nutrition bill. Investigative journalist James O'Keefe caught former NPR exec Ron Schiller on tape trashing the Tea Party as "racist" and "Islamophobic." And the official PBS Twitter account sent a special shout-out to radical leftist group Move On last year for leading the government media rescue charge. Moreover, as I've previously reported, NPR and PBS have no problem raising money from corporations and left-wing philanthropists, including billionaire George Soros, whose Open Society Institute gave $1.8 million to pay for at least 100 journalists at NPR member radio stations in all 50 states over the next three years.
President Obama sneered at Romney for daring to mention PBS subsidies in the context of deficit reduction. But Obama's own Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction commission singled out Corporation for Public Broadcasting spending. "The current CPB funding level is the highest it has ever been," the panel noted after Obama proposed hiking yearly appropriations to $450 million in 2012. Doing away with the appropriation would save nearly $500 million in 2015 alone. Over 10 years, those savings would total $5 billion (or roughly 10 Solyndras). In these tough times, that's more than chump change and child's play.
Romney's right: It's time for government media to grow up and get off the dole. It's time for taxpayers to flip the Bird.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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