msnbc | October 06, 2012
>> oh, well, president obama on the campaign trail seizing upon mitt romney 's budget-cutting comments that could threaten tv's most popular bird. here's what mr. romney had said.
>> i'm sorry, jim, i'm going to stop the subsidy to pbs . i'm going to stop other things. i like pbs . i love big bird . i actually like you, too. but i'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from china to pay for.
>> it prompted a plurry of internet activity supporting big bird and the public broadcasting system . what's the truth? could big bird going bye bye ? joining us now a reporter from the christian science monitor . good morning.
>> good morning.
>> are big bird and pbs really in any danger here?
>> i don't think big bird's had things this good in awhile. he's huge on twitter now. his twitter presence increased like 800,000%. and the thing about big bird and " sesame street ," they have so much outside funding that it's not like " sesame street " is going to disappear. pbs , though, that subsidy, it's a sizeable chunk of their budget. it would be a big blow .
>> about how much? do you have a perspective on how much that is? how much the government chips in?
>> it fluctuates year to year. it's about 10 to 15%. in 2011 about 12% of pbs 's budget funneled through the corporation of public broadcasting . came from the government subsidy .
>> pbs has released a statement accusing governor romney of making pbs a political target and of not understanding the value of the american peopleublic broadcas ting. how do americans generally view public broadcasting ? and its funding?
>> i mean, people are generally very favorable of it. pbs did a study last year where 69% of people were in favor of keeping the public broadcasting funding. and that was across party lines , even conservatives favored keeping it to the tune of i think 53%. so it's something people like. and the thing is, it's such a small part of the federal budget . it's less than .01%. with trillion of dollars that's hard for us to figure out. but if you put that in say i made $40,000 a year. that would be about 56 cents out of my annual budget . public broadcasting .
>> that's putting it in perspective there. the ceo of pbs , paula kerger points out that federal funding for public broadcasting has been cut 13% just in the past two years. have we felt an impact from that?
>> yes, in the places that are going to see more of an impact of that are going to be the local stations. it's not going to be the big market. if the subsidies were cut or phased out over the next three years as congress is wanting to do, some of those stations would go dark. ironically those are some of the places that need that free access to educational programming the most.
>> all right, thank you very much. good to talk to you.