PBS uses Big Bird publicity to advocate 'essential' programming

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PBS on Tuesday is promoting a tweet for Twitter users interested in the ongoing conversation about Big Bird that calls the nonprofit broadcasting network "trusted, valued and essential."

Almost a week after the first presidential debate, Big Bird is still influencing the presidential race. President Obama's campaign released an ad on Tuesday that characterized Romney's perception of Big Bird as an "enemy" and a "big, yellow menace to our economy."

During last Wednesday's debate, Mitt Romney referred to Big Bird when he said, as president, he would cut federal subsidies to PBS.

“I like PBS. I love Big Bird. Actually, I like you, too,” Romney said to debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS's "NewsHour." “But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is accusing Obama of talking more about Big Bird than about the economy or Libya with a new infographic that appropriates yet another popular Sesame Street character: the Count.

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Image courtesy of RNC.

Big Bird and PBS were popular terms on Twitter on Tuesday, according to analytics by Topsy, and Big Bird currently appears in the top 10 terms associated with tweets about the presidential candidates, according to PoliPulse.

Sesame Street, which is nonpartisan, has since asked the Obama campaign to take down the ad featuring footage of Big Bird. That has not stopped PBS from taking advantage of the publicity by jumping into the conversation on Twitter last week and sending Big Bird as a guest to "SNL" over the weekend. 

PBS argues that Mitt Romney is "misguided" in his plan to cut federal subsidies to PBS and said last week that the GOP nominee does not understand the importance of PBS's educational programming.