Crying fowl — Big Bird counts on his friends to see him through
October 8, 2012By Chris Satullo
A co-worker just stopped by my cubicle, with brow furrowed, feathers ruffled.
"Yo, Bird," I said as two, big, orange, three-toed feet wiggled on my desktop.
"Chris, why is this happening again?" Big Bird moaned.
"It's election time, B-Squared," I replied. "I can't count how many times Republicans have decided that going after the big bad liberal media is a good way to stir up the base."
"I can," Big Bird said. "One ... two .. three ..."
I waved him off. "It's OK, BB, you can stop."
"But why? Out of all the large, yellow, lovable characters in the world, why did Mitt Romney had to drag me into it?"
"It's really nothing to do with you, Bird. You're a symbol, an emblem.
"You see, conservatives have long enjoyed styling themselves as a persecuted minority. They say their views, their values, their tastes are mocked in the mainstream media. And it really grinds their gears when their tax dollars help pay the salaries of the media figures they feel are mocking them."
"I don't mock anyone, Chris, not even Oscar. I'm super nice."
"I know, BB, I know. What's funny here is this riff may really have been a little bit true 30 years ago, when they started using it. But since then the conservatives have built their own alternative media universe, their own networks, shows, think tank pundits. And they win their fair share of elections. But they still dig feeling persecuted. So they need a bogeyman. That's where you come in."
Big Bird looked peeved: "Well it's you NPR radio guys they're really mad at. I'm PBS. We're harmless."
"True that, Bird, but angry people can't keep track of that alphabet soup."
"Heyyyyy, I like alphabet soup."
"Look on the bright side, Bird. When was the last time you were trending on Twitter?
"I did like that tweet about someone claiming to seem me on the interstate, strapped to the roof of Mitt Romney's car. That was funny. But, Chris, here's another thing I don't get. We get such a tiny scrap of federal money. Why harp on us?"
"I know, B-Squared: Saying you'll balance the budget by cutting PBS is a little like showing up in New Orleans after Katrina with a thimble, and saying, 'OK, I'm here to get rid of this water.'"
"So how does it end, Chris? I can't help feeling all worried and stressed. I was awake all night rescratching my resume."
"My guess is it'll turn out to be a lot of sound and fury, producing nothing. Just like the last six or seven times."
"OK, I hope you're right. Still, Chris: Do you know if Nickelodeon is hiring?"