I admit it – I am an NPR junkie – or, more honestly, an unabashed fan of Public Radio – and television. So, when during a recent presidential debate, one of the candidates said that he would abolish funding for public media, including “Big Bird,” I recoiled, almost in horror.
From the moment I awaken, my life is enriched by public radio. Where else can you hear unbiased news, interviews with book authors, the latest updates in science and politics? Where else can you be educated, so very painlessly, five nights a week about classical music and its composers? Or be transported weekly to “Lake Wobegon” and its fairy tale environs?
We don’t have cable and I doubt that we ever will. But we thoroughly enjoy the mysteries and masterpieces on “Masterpiece Theater”. We’re transported to England’s countryside by “Doc Martin,” and immersed in the slums of London’s East End in the 1950s by “The Midwives”. We are inspired by programs on religion and ethics, and fascinated by those on nature and science. And yes, presidential candidate, our children and our children’s children have been amused and instructed by Big Bird on “Sesame Street,” by the kindly Fred Rogers on “Mr. Rogers,” and by all the members of “The Electric Company.” If we want our children to live in a kinder, gentler society, if we wish to make better informed choices in our democracy, and if we wish to provide education and entertainment for those of all ages, of all abilities and disabilities, of all political persuasions, of all economic strata, we’d better keep on supporting the public broadcasting system.