A social media campaign for a Million Muppet March on Washington has formed following Republican Mitt Romney’s vow to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting and his threat to fire Big Bird and Jim Lehrer.
A statement on MMM’s Facebook page says, “We are Muppets and Muppet Sympathizers committed to keeping full employment for all Muppets through support of public funding for public broadcasting.”
Marchers are asked to “bring your favorite puppet and join us on the National Mall on November 3rd, 2012, for a morning of fun in the largest gathering of puppets to ever March on Washington in support of public broadcasting.
“We are private individuals and are not affiliated with nor do we represent ‘Sesame Street,’ Sesame Workshop or Disney. The puppets we are bringing are our own. We don't want anyone to be disappointed but we do not anticipate any participation from any of these organizations.
“If you can't join us in person (or in puppet) on the Mall, we are working on a way for you to participate virtually in the largest gathering of puppets around the world to show support for public media.”
The campaign launched on Oct. 3. That’s the night of the first presidential debate, in which Romney said he was going to cut the federal budget by eliminating taxpayer funding for public broadcasting.
He said to moderator Lehrer: “I’m sorry Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not gonna keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Federal funding last year for public broadcasting was $430 million. The federal budget is $3.7 trillion.
PBS issued a statement following the debate that read, in part: “We are very disappointed that PBS became a political target in the Presidential debate last night. Governor Romney does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers to our nation.”
“Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt yet the loss to the American public would be devastating.”