PBS CEO Says Trump Proposal Threatens “Very Existence”; Denies Partisan Elmo

Courtesy Detroit Public Television

PBS CEO Paula Kerger said today that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal would threaten the “very existence” of PBS at a time “when commercial news media pushes Americans apart.”

Dismissing charges of left-wing bias and notions that PBS is geared to coastal elites, Kerger told a Detroit business group that the decimation of federal arts funding proposed by Trump would pose an “existential question” for PBS’s survival in the country’s rural communities.

“The president’s budget proposes to make America great again,” she said, before adding, “I strongly believe PBS and its member stations are part of what makes America great.”

And no, she told the Detroit Economic Club, PBS did not recruit Elmo for any political campaign. “If you are online and see all these Sesame images, particularly Big Bird and Elmo, we had nothing to do with any of it,” she said about the parodies. “The public actually believes they own it because, in fact, you do.”

Kerger was referring to a viral comedy video that depicts an Elmo puppet being laid off due to funding cuts. “But Elmo’s rent just went up!,” the stunned puppet cries. “Elmo has pre-existing conditions!” The official-looking link at the end of the video is a non-working web address, Kerger pointed out. (Watch it below).

As for liberal bias, Kerger rejected the charge during a Q&A session, noting that PBS devotes eight hours a day to children’s programming, and that the PBS NewsHour “provides context” that attempts to “get different perspectives around the table.”

Kerger also noted that PBS cost the average American $1.35 per year. “Our entire content budget is less than what Netflix spent on The Crown.”

Here’s the video referenced by Kerger:


This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2017/03/pbs-paula-kerger-donald-trump-detroit-elmo-1202050927/