Thursday, March 10, 2011

Editorial cartoonists: keeping the legacy of Thomas Nast alive

The foot-in-mouth management team over at public broadcasting is proving to be quite adept at making life hard for supporters of PBS and NPR.

It was only last year that NPR abruptly fired news analyst Juan Williams because he had the audacity to make politically incorrect comments about Muslims. So much for respecting conflicting points of view.

Then came news - with videotaped proof, no less - that NPR's top fundraiser made derogatory remarks about conservatives and questioned whether NPR needs government funding. He's gone, of course, and so is the head of NPR, who resigned yesterday.

Sometimes, though, the folks who love to demonize public broadcasting go a bit too far, as when Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina issued a statement a while back charging that Elmo and his "furry friends" at PBS are "political animals."

Elmo "has testified before Congress about the need for more funding for the arts and participated in other press conferences to increase spending on public broadcasting," DeMint said in a statement. The little guy "even went on the lecture circuit last year" with the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, DeMint complained, "to promote government-funded broadband Internet." 

So, it turns out Elmo's one of the bad guys? Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California isn't buying it. She offered this reaction in a speech on the Senate floor: "I believe they use deficit reduction as an excuse to carry out political vendettas. We fund fifteen percent of public broadcasting, but now they want to zero it out. A vendetta. Against Elmo."

by Pat Oliphant

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