Obama and Co. are making a big deal over comments Mitt Romney made about defunding Big Bird. “I love Big Bird,” Romney said “But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”
Our embassies are under attack, and Obama’s handlers are more concerned about a big yellow bird that’s worth millions of dollars. “[T]he Romney campaign released a devastating graphic that shows that since his debate debacle, Barack Obama has mentioned Big Bird and Elmo 13 times but has not mentioned Libya or his plan to fix the economy even once.”
All this attention to Big Bird has the folks at PBS concerned. They don’t like Big Bird becoming a political football. :
Sesame Workshop . . . issued a statement Tuesday saying “we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down.”
What don’t the Sesame Workshop folks want us to know? Sesame Street and Big Bird are big moneymakers. They don’t need to be subsidized by tax payers. In fact, nothing needs to be subsidized by tax payers. Sesame Street merchandise is a multimillion dollar industry.The Sesame Workshop gets most of its funding “through licensing the use of their characters to a variety of corporations to use for books, toys, and other products marketed toward children.” Consider the following:
Current licensees include Procter & Gamble (Pampers diapers), Fisher-Price, Nakajima USA, Build-A-Bear Workshop (Build-An-Elmo, Build-A-Cookie Monster, And Build-A-Big Bird), GUND, Hasbro (Sesame Street Monopoly), Wooly Willy, Betty Crocker (Elmo Fruit Snacks), C&D Visionary (air freshners) and Children’s Apparel Network. Former licenses include Applause, Child Dimension, Gibson Greetings, Gorham Fine China, Ideal Toys, Milton Bradley Company, Nintendo, Palisades Toys, Questor, Radio Shack, Tyco, and the Western Publishing Company. Creative Wonders (a partnership between ABC and Electronic Arts) produced Sesame Street software for the Macintosh, since at least 1995 and on the PC since 1996; Atari produced Sesame Street games in 1983. Before going bankrupt, Palisades Toys was to release a line of deluxe series action figures, for adults, as part of Sesame Workshop’s push to expand into retro products for teens and adults. Only a Super Grover figure was distributed to conventioneers.
The Sesame Beginnings line, launched in mid-2005, consists of apparel, health and body, home, and seasonal products.
Let’s not forget the toys that are sold directly to consumers. Think of Tickle Me Elmo, one of the fastest selling toys of the 1996 Christmas season. “That product line was and still is one of the most successful products Mattel has ever launched.”
Then there’s the book division. “Its fiction books are published on five continents, primarily by Random House in North America. Over 18 million Sesame Street books and magazines were purchased in 2005. The books often mention that children do not have to watch the show to benefit from its publications.”
What does all of this tell us? There is no reason for Sesame Street or Big Bird to be on Public Broadcast stations funded in part by tax dollars. They are huge moneymakers that should be on commercial TV. Obama should spend more time putting out ads telling the American people how he’s going to secure our embassies. He might want to talk to the people who run the Big Bird money machine and ask them for some money to help pay for security.