A Word for the Birds
Why Public Television Matters
During the first presidential debate of 2012 Mitt Romney vowed to cut funding for Big Bird, Jim Lehrer and all other programming on PBS. Well, I have a few things to say about all that.
Last evening (10/7/12) my wife and I watched the two-hour special on the Discovery Channel, titled "Winged Planet." We loved the movie "March of the Penguins" narrated by Morgan Freeman, but this bird show topped even that. From mini-cams on the backs of birds that gave all of us viewers a 'bird's eye' look at our world, to the feeding/hunting methods of birds, to their astounding migration patterns, it was a feast for the eyes.
Most touching to me was a segment that followed a French photographer (yes, Republicans, there are good things even in France that we can adore!) who literally hatched goslings in his hands, served as a surrogate mother during their development and led them around via the sound of a bicycle horn - and then flew alongside them in a light aircraft, photographing them in flight.
Though the Discovery Channel is a publicly funded company and therefore (I presume) not on Romney's 'hit list,' it is every bit a testimony to the value of public, educative TV - along with Big Bird, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, Sesame Street and all the other informative shows on television. Each of these offerings is a testimony to the human spirit and contributes knowledge of our world and ourselves.
I don't take seriously Mr. Romney's promise (or threat, as the case may be) about de-funding public television, since I assume it was a comment meant most for Tea Partiers and others on the far right. But I do take seriously the power and worth of education for all, not just children. Television and the Internet are powerful tools for good. Let's not hamstring them or disparage their value.
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