No Muppet Left Behind


This morning, through arduous investigative work involving a toddler and a TV, I discovered that Sesame Street, one of the most successful children's shows in history, is brought to us partly by a No Child Left Behind grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The show itself, which is highly popular and generates lucrative licensing fees for its producers, presumably would exist without taxpayer support. And the PBS station that carries it in D.C. already runs ads from McDonald's and Beaches Family Resorts before and after the show, so there's no use pretending this is commercial-free TV. Under what rationale does Sesame Street on PBS rate a government grant, while Maisy on commercial-free Noggin (which my daughter lately prefers) does not? If that seems like comparing apples and oranges, how about Sesame Street on PBS (subsidized) vs. Sesame Street on Noggin (not subsidized)? Instead of using our money to air a show that manifestly does not need subsidies on channels that have no reason to exist (since everything they do is done as well or better on for-profit cable channels), why not use it to buy cable TV for families that can't afford it? It might not cost any less, but it would make a lot more sense.