Santorum warns of 'Barney' and 'Sesame Street' lobby
February 16th, 2011
11:56 AM ET
4 years ago

Santorum warns of 'Barney' and 'Sesame Street' lobby

Washington (CNN) - All-but-declared presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a warning for Republicans in Congress who want to slash funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Watch out for the "Barney" and "Sesame Street" lobbies.

The former congressman and senator said on Fox News Monday he tried to cut federal funding for the CPB when he was in office but faced a powerful backlash from supporters of the legendary kids shows.

"When I came to Congress, I was one of the guys that said we got to cut the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It wasn't necessary anymore," he said. "Well the 'Barney' contingent came out and the 'Sesame Street' contingent came out and these are programs that are popular among families and so they hit you pretty hard."

The comments come a week after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, proposed a budget blueprint that eliminates all funding to the CPB, which helps subsidize NPR and PBS affiliates. Last year, CPB received more than $400 million from the federal government.

In response to threatened cuts, a handful of Democrats have organized a press conference Wednesday featuring Sesame Street characters to highlight the importance of the CPB funding.


Filed under: Rick Santorum
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. DaDoc540

    If House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky, wants to eliminate the funding for NPR and PBS, I wonder what alternative he would have for Sesame Street.

    Perhaps Mr. Rupert Murdoch or a team assembled by News Corporation can develop an educational kids show to provide some competition to Sesame Street, air it on Fox (in the US and Australia) and Sky (in Britain), and have it commercially funded like other private broadcast shows.

    Imagine a segment teaching why lizards can shed their tails: God, represented by a bright light, a disembodied voice, and a hand from Monty Python and the Holy Grail/Spamalot, gives lizards the ability to shed tails to dodge predators.

    February 16, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. jim

    Big Bird, can you say .... "Screw America?"

    February 16, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Larry

    Lacking a substantive argument, he tries to disparage those who disagree with him by trying to make them sound like children with talk of "Barney" and "Sesame Street" lobbies. *sigh*

    February 16, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Bart in Omaha

    The Repubs want it stopped because it is one of the independent voices out there. The Repubs get criticized by NPR so it has to go, even though it does so much important work for our Country. Germany and USSR of yesterday (and Iran today) all tried to control the media just as the Repubs want to drown this out as well. I thought they were big fans of the 1st amenedment. When they speak of freedom (as they always do) they are talking about their own freedom, not that of the USA. Any time they are criticized, they have a all out assualt on that person or networks credibility. Shameful.

    February 16, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Paqrat137

    Has anyone seen the chart in today's New York Times which shows the proposed budget graphically? If you haven't you should. Why? You will then be able to see what silliness like this means...in the wrld of $3.7 trillion...nothing, but an easy target. Hey Rick, go after something bigger, not with attacks, but with solutions – that starts with "S".

    February 16, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Ayatollah Santorum has issued his fatwah: death to the infidel Big Bird!

    February 16, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Margie

    The country is ready for another cartoon character and guess what Santorum, well he don't need no makeup, he can show up as he is.

    February 16, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Born Again, not Born Yesterday

    Failed politicians never die, we just WISH they would!

    February 16, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Informed

    Hey...Realistic – Do you even know what your're are talking about? Have you ever read Exxon's 10-K? Do you even know what a 10-K is? For your information for every $1 Exxon made last year .41 Cents went to taxes. They had a total tax bill of $78 billion dollars and $103 billion dollars the year before. Hardly chump change. The so called hand outs that you are taliking about are referred mostley to foreign tax credits which all US companies get if they are taxed in foreign countries. Exxon was taxed about $70.3 billion by foreign countries and taxed $7.7 billion by the US. So you take away those so called hand outs and Exxon pays approx $140 billion in taxes or for every $1 Exxon would make, Exxon woudl pay .73 cents in taxes. Hardly fair. So before you spout your left leaing adjenda, I would suggest you do a little research.

    February 16, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. Former Republican, now an Independent

    Neo-cons like Santorum want to cut funding for public broadcasting because they can't control them. PBS and NPR report the news fairly. The republican party would shut down every news agency in America except their own Fox News, if they could.

    February 16, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Hey, Rick, what shows did your children watch when they were younger? I bet they learned to say "Please" and "Thank You" from the big Purple dude, learned their alphabet from the little red dude, and their numbers from the purple Bela Lugosi wannabe!

    February 16, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Michael

    I wouldn't trust my worst enemy's life to the free market (unfortunately with the insurance system in this country, I have no choice). Public broadcasting all the way. PBS/NPR aren't biased; they just say things that you don't agree with but are the truth nonetheless.

    February 16, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This is a reply to OBAMA above – The separation between government and the media should work both ways. If you're going to get the government out of the CPB, let's get FAUX News out of the government!

    February 16, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Bill

    Yet another reason Howdy Doody Santorum will fail in his hopeless presidential bid. Of course, I would not expect him to support anything of an educational nature. An ideological buffoon.

    February 16, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. Greg in Arkansas

    I guess it ok for the DOD to fund $100 million for NASCAR in the name of advertising but must we cut funding for educational programing to make up the difference???

    February 16, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. NVa Native

    One Big Arse & Rickster – it's great to see you two out here reminding the rest of us how important public education and public broadcasting needs to be funded and protected. Wouldn't want my kids or my neighbors kids to end up like you.

    February 16, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. NVa Native

    Why are these neo-confused lizard-brains afraid of Big Bird and the Cookie Monster?
    Oh that's right, they're Repubs – the real question is what aren't these wimps afraid of?

    February 16, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. David

    It's time to stop policing the world and cut the ghastly defense/Homeland Security budget down.

    February 16, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Learn To Fish

    It's very simple, Pennies Make Dollars. 400 million may be a drop in the bucket compared to Obama's first 2 years of spendapalooza, but it's actually a lot of money and we need to start making cuts wherever we can. Maybe people will think next time before supporting big spending presidents (Bush is included in this but nowhere near the level of Obama)

    February 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    He forgot to mention the most obvious "pro-gay" characters on TV. The teletubbies. Those dastardly proponents of a "sick and perverted" lifestyle are definitely brainwashing the children to a pro-gay agenda. What a loser this guy his. His one-trick-pony show won't work...too bad though. It'd be funny to watch him get slaughtered on election day

    February 16, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Darth Vadik, CA

    Uhhhh, the only reason networks like Fox News exist is because WE ALOW them to, back in the day networks had to have a mandatory hour of NEWS, and I do mean NEWS not this commentator crap we see today, but somehow that slipped thru the cracks, THANK BILL CLINTON for that one...

    ...those are public airways, so the Government oversees them in our name, AND BY GOD AND THE CONSTITUTION, the fairness doctrine needs to come back...

    ...as far as Public Broadcasting, Santorum, go eat a pickle you sour sour man....

    February 16, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Emerson

    Ricky, why don't you and your GOP cronies start your cuts with (i) subsidies to oil companies; (ii) subsidies to agribusiness; and (iii) the defense department, starting with the $60,000+ bonuses that you have to pay to our soldiers to keep sending them back to fight in the longest and most unpopular and invisible wars in our history, all so that you do not have to require a draft which would cause such rioting in the street, it would make Cairo look like a rock concert. Create jobs GOP and quit wasting our time with political gibberish.

    February 16, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. Realistic

    @Obama :Only a right wing nut job would think that education is a left leaning thing, lmao!!! ok if gov't hjas no business in media as you say, what business does gov't have to take my hard earned money and give tax breaks to oil companies? What business does gov't have in helping businesses out with tax breaks? Let the free market drive business not free handouts' and see.....Oh wait...wait......Oh yeah, I forgot about right wingers trickle up business module...

    February 16, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The idea that they promote learning and tolerance is beyond Santorum. He can't stand that.

    February 16, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. lgny

    There is no commercial equivalent to Sesame Street, Nova, Frontline, American Experience, and so many other PBS shows. It's sad to see how far commercial television has sunk into cheap "reality" shows that have no educational value at all. Even the news magazines have never learned how to present science to the nation.

    February 16, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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