It’s come to this: Dems hold presser with cartoon aardvark to protest PBS cuts; Update: Video added

posted at 3:19 pm on February 16, 2011 by Allahpundit

Here’s what the Party of Ideas™ was up to while Chris Christie was over at AEI talking about Social Security and Medicare. I spent a half-hour looking for video, but no dice so far. Which seems strange: Why wouldn’t the Democratic leadership want to highlight a photo op with a fictional aardvark during our very serious national debate about the deficit? Is the clip embargoed? Free Arthur! Free the aardvark!

On the upside, this really isn’t any sillier than having Colbert testify on immigration.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) rarely holds press conferences with animated aardvarks, but he went for it on Wednesday, coaxing the shy Arthur the Aardvark up to the podium.

“Come over here Arthur,” Markey beckoned to the human-sized title character in the PBS series, “Arthur: The World’s Most Famous Aardvark,” motioning for him to come up to the podium, as a small crowd of curious tourists began forming. Nearby, Rep. Betty McCollum clutched an Elmo doll and a stuffed Big Bird sat on the podium – both ready to fight in defense of funding for public broadcasting…

“The GOP should be less preoccupied with silencing cookie monster and more focused on reviving the economy,” said Lowey, who in 1995 invited Bert and Ernie to testify on Capitol Hill when Republicans tried to eliminate public media funding under then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. “How long will it take for some people to learn that people want Congress to focus on creating jobs, not laying off Bert and Ernie.”

She’s not joking about the GOP laying off Bert and Ernie: If you think this presser couldn’t have been any stupider, check out the photo at the Daily Caller. As Lee Doren said on Twitter, a more honest use of puppets and cartoons would be to have them rifling through the pockets of five-year-olds since, after all, they’re the ones who’ll end up paying for this down the road. And yet, the thing about this tactic is … it works, or at least it has in the past. Even Republican-controlled Congresses have caved at the thought of leaving Big Bird momentarily without a nest, despite the fact that Sesame Street and its endless merchandising possibilities would surely be picked up by some other network if PBS went poof. I think it’s going to backfire this time because the fiscal stakes are so much higher than they were even five years ago, but then I also used to think rank-and-file tea partiers were committed to cutting Social Security. Either way, alongside Obama’s gutless budget proposal, consider this another reminder that not only aren’t Democrats serious about balancing the budget, they’re practically contemptuous of those who are. When asked what he thought of the GOP’s willingness to tackle entitlements in its own budget, a senior Democratic congressional aide told Politico, perfectly pithily, “They are suckers.” That’s the real message of the week, aardvark or not. Want to deal with America’s catastrophic debt problem before it gets even worse? You sucker.

To make this extra surreal for you, here’s Jake Tapper asking new White House mouthpiece Jay Carney whether Obama understands that borrowing money to pay interest on old debt constitutes new debt. To which I say, why does Jake Tapper hate aardvarks?

Update: Either it wasn’t there earlier or I completely missed it the first time around, but the Daily Caller post linked above has video of the presser. Click the image to watch.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Didn’t Soros just give NPR $1 MILLION so they could hire 100 reporters?? And why isn’t Bert & Ernie sharing this cash with the program that Obama cut that gives heating assistance for the poor? Democrats don’t care about poor people; they care only about the politics of controlling their message via NPR/PBS.

TN Mom on February 16, 2011 at 5:26 PM

uuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… Gearoge Bush did it!

It’s good to see that the new guy is already on message.

bitsy on February 16, 2011 at 5:28 PM

From two reliable critics, my grandkids ages 4 and 6. “Arthur is a stupid show. And Sesame Street is boring.”

Deanna on February 16, 2011 at 5:16 PM

SS has been the target of a lot of PC nonsense according to my siblings. If true, that alone would justify nixing it.

Dark-Star on February 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM

William Amos on February 16, 2011 at 5:06 PM

lol

excellent

cmsinaz on February 16, 2011 at 5:31 PM

They’re not serious. They’re jokes. They obviously did not get the message last November.

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/democrats-enlist-arthur-the-aardvark-effort-to-demagogue-budget-debate

jdawg on February 16, 2011 at 5:44 PM

If you look on Amazon, there are well over 100 different books and toys licensed to use the Arthur the Aardvark character. Add up all the Sesame Street and other PBS licensing and it adds up to over a billion dollars a year in sales of licensed merchandise. Since typical royalty rates are 7-12% of wholesale, that means that Arthur and his buddies are bringing in $50-$100 million annually in revenue to PBS.

Can someone explain why PBS is 1) considered a non-profit and 2) why they need support from taxpayers when they have such a substantial revenue stream?

Meanwhile, my local PBS affiliate has about 10 minutes of begging and pleading for donations for every 20 minutes of programming, at least during their pledge drives. Apparently they think their viewers have short attention spans because in that 10 minutes they must mention each “gift” you receive for a given donation at least a half a dozen times.

rokemronnie on February 16, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Let’s hope Arthur does not get caught between the Moon and New York City.

Greek Fire on February 16, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Heh – and thank you (no sarc) for putting that song in my head. Love Christopher Cross.

inviolet on February 16, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Anyone ever notice that Aurthur the Aardvark and Mooooochelle Obama are never seen at the same time?

csdeven on February 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM

BYRD AMENDMENT

A provision commonly referred to as the Byrd Amendment (31 U.S.C. 1352) prohibits the use of Federal contract, grant, loan or cooperative agreement funds to pay any person for influencing or attempting to influence the executive or legislative branch with respect to certain specified actions. The specified actions include the following:
• awarding of a Federal contract;
• making of a Federal grant;
• making of a Federal loan;
• entering into of a cooperative agreement; or
• the extension, continuation, renewal, amendment or modification of any of these.

Any person who requests or receives a Federal contract, grant, loan or cooperative agreement is required to file a certification that no payments prohibited by the Byrd amendment have been made using appropriated funds, and a declaration providing information with respect to any payments made using other than appropriated funds. Violations of the Byrd amendment may result in the imposition of civil penalties of $10,000 or more.

SIMPSON-CRAIG AMENDMENT

Effective January 1, 1996, the so-called Simpson-Craig amendment to the Lobbying Disclosure Act (2 U.S.C. 1611) makes any organization that is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code ineligible for federal funds through an award, grant, or loan if the organization engages in lobbying activities as defined in that Act. This provision is unique in that it prohibits all lobbying by an organization, rather than simply prohibiting lobbying supported by Federal funds. Lobbying is defined here to include, among other things, any communication to legislative branch officials on behalf of a client with regard to formulation, modification, or adoption of Federal legislation.

J_Crater on February 16, 2011 at 6:01 PM

I’ve never seen a deer in glasses before. They respond the same way to headlights, though…

karl9000 on February 16, 2011 at 6:07 PM

If people want their kids to be able to watch Arthur or Sesame Street, let them pay for it — put it on a premium pay channel. We pay enough taxes already for other people’s entertainment, e.g., multi-million dollar baseball, football, and hockey venues.

casel21 on February 16, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Some of things the Federal government does just wouldn’t get done without government funding (like defense or border control) but really now, who in their right mind thinks that Sesame Street will disappear without a subsidy? Without Federal funding, all the popular stuff will simply switch channels and stay just as popular, and the un-popular stuff will continue to be ignored. But with 300 or 400 channels to fill up all day, every day, everything will get broadcast.

Fred 2 on February 16, 2011 at 6:52 PM

The money that the Sesame Street brand creates with books, toys, DVDs, etc. could make PBS self sustaining. There is no need to fund them with taxpayer money.

BetseyRoss on February 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM

The hucksters and political hacks pulling the strings at PBS and CPB should have to pay for the programs and advertising (disguised as a show) to hawk the dolls and cookbooks themselves. Not taxpayers. Much of current public broadcasting is little more than infomercials and political advertising for WGBH (Boston)-connected cronies & pols with as many or more ads tacked on before and after programs as the private sector television which pays its own way.

Silly Billy Moyers. Tavis Smiley. Judy Woodruff. Skippy Gates. Gwen Iffill. Alan Alda. Gloria Borger. Virtually all political hacks and retreads for the DNC getting a gummint check off the taxpayer dime specifically to promote their political party agenda and disinformation e.g. Gorebull Warming.

viking01 on February 16, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Why wouldn’t the Democratic leadership want to highlight a photo op with a fictional aardvark during our very serious national debate about the deficit?

Rhetorical question, Allah? Someone in the media would have to have a small amount of impartiality to report this stuff. As it is, their sacred duty is to protect the appearance of Liberals and everything they do.

hawkdriver on February 16, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Government backed media gives us inefficient crap programming, and free market gives us junk Reality TV, lame-o cable news, and Aliens on the History Channel.

Thank god for the internet.

V-rod on February 16, 2011 at 8:44 PM

That Carney video was painful.

pugwriter on February 16, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Arthur=Alf’s gay brother.

james23 on February 16, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Anyone ever notice that Aurthur the Aardvark and Mooooochelle Obama are never seen at the same time?

csdeven on February 16, 2011 at 5:57 PM

RRRAAACCCCIIISST!

pugwriter on February 16, 2011 at 10:02 PM

What I have never understood is how the Children’s Television Workshop can market and sell the endless supply of Sesame Street and other toys, (some of the most successful preschool lines) and still have the nuts to involve themselves in begging for public funds for the public broadcasting. They should be paying for that. Who pays for the advertising on normal channels for those toys and learning tools? Indirectly, you do.

hawkdriver on February 17, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Without Federal funding, all the popular stuff will simply switch channels and stay just as popular, and the un-popular stuff will continue to be ignored. But with 300 or 400 channels to fill up all day, every day, everything will get broadcast.

Fred 2 on February 16, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Of course you are right.
If PBS were not there to pay to run these programs, those prgrams would have other venues paying for them.
There is no need to end up with a BBC monster.
Don’t they take $$ out of all Brit citizens’ checks for BBC?

Badger40 on February 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM

PBS gets tons of money to run commercials for companies. Oops my bad, they are “supporters” of PBS. /sarcasm

Deanna on February 17, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I have never seen an aardvark with a nose like that.

abcurtis on February 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Deanna on February 17, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Yes.
I fail to see how this is any different that ‘regular’ advertising money.

Badger40 on February 17, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Fire all of PBS….

charmingtail on February 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I think you are all lying!!! anyone can see these old guys are just trying to lure children!!!

charmingtail on February 17, 2011 at 2:42 PM

I have never seen an aardvark with a nose like that.

abcurtis on February 17, 2011 at 11:45 AM

Arthur had his nose fixed; it’s part of his benefits package.

Red State State of Mind on February 17, 2011 at 9:33 PM

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