Government waste: startling amount taxpayers pay for Big Bird’s salary each year

Big Bird

Big Bird is profitable enough to pay PBS’s way.

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The actor who plays Big Bird on PBS earned over $300,000 last year and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell wants to put an end it.

In response to the release of President Trump’s budget proposal Thursday, Bozell said the cuts in taxpayer money spending by the government is “his is fantastic news. There is absolutely no reason for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to receive taxpayer funding.”

The Corporation of Public Broadcasting, or PBS and Sesame Workshop, was funded by more than $445 million in federal grants paid by American taxpayers last year. Carroll Spinney, the actor who plays Big Bird made $314,072 according to his 2012 tax return.

According to 2011 tax records PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger earned $669,260. Chief operating officer Michael Jones earned $477,296. Their chief financial officer and treasurer Barbara Landes was paid $402.355.

Why would President Trump want to end government spending on PBS? Because they can afford to pay their own way.

Sherrie Westin, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop, confirmed that Sesame Workshop “receives very, very little funding from PBS. So, we are able to raise our funding through philanthropic, through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship.”

Why has liberal politics and media been on the side of using taxpayer monies for Sesame Workshop?

According to the Pew Research organization almost one-in-five adults (17%) get news about government and politics from PBS in a typical week. The political make-up of those viewers are mostly liberal. Critics say it’s more about propaganda for the Left than it is about presenting fair news. Those on the left of the political spectrum make up about six-in-ten of the outlet’s news audience, compared with 38% of all Web users.

“National Public Radio is properly understood, even by the media, as radio by and for liberals, not the general public,” Bozell said.

It would not be the end of Big Bird and other Sesame Street characters if federal monies were cut. Westin admitted that some liberals and the political correctness crowd “always try to tout out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird—that is actually misleading, because Sesame Street will be here.”

The net worth of Sesame Workshop is over $400 million and can more than pay their way without government handouts. They are so profitable that senior vice president and general counsel,  Katherine Lauderdale earned $381,855. Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary Knell earned $988,456 from January to October, 2011. The current president and CEO, H. Melvin Ming, earned $584,572.

The White House 18 acres grounds covered in snow on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

“I have long opposed taxpayer subsidization of public broadcasting because it’s not the federal government’s business to prop up media entities with taxpayer money,” Bozell said. “There are plenty of leftwing billionaires who could help fund the liberal propaganda coming from CPB. Now it’s time for Congress to follow through and eliminate CPB’s funding once and for all.”

Other reported salaries include Lewis Bernstein at $406,387, Terry Fitzpatrick at $439,741, Myung Kang-Huneke at $389,005,  Sherrie Westin at $463,892, Susan Kolar at $401,425, and Joseph Mazzarino at $556,165.

Anita Stewart with this organization earned $455,369, while Miranda Barry earned $397,175.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center year-long study on political polarization in America, their project looked “at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. They found that liberals are:

  • Are less unified in their media loyalty; they rely on a greater range of news outlets, including some – like NPR and the New York Times– that others use far less.
  • Express more trust than distrust of 28 of the 36 news outlets in the survey. NPR, PBS and the BBC are the most trusted news sources for consistent liberals.
  • Are more likely than those in other ideological groups to block or “defriend” someone on a social network – as well as to end a personal friendship – because of politics.
  • Are more likely to follow issue-based groups, rather than political parties or candidates, in their Facebook feeds.

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