Mr. Rogers Goes to Washington

We take you back to another era when funding for public broadcasting was in doubt – to 1969, when Richard Nixon planned to cut PBS’ funding from $20 million to $10 million. Here Fred Rogers, the gentle creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, gets six short minutes before Senator John Pastore, the chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, and makes his pitch for publicly-funded educational television. In those 360 seconds, Rogers gets the gruff senator to do a complete 180 – to end up saying “It looks like you just earned the 20 million dollars.” And, indeed, it turned out just that way. Those were the days…

via @webacion


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  1. Ricky Waller says . . . | March 9, 2011 / 3:11 am

    This video link should be e-mailed to every budget slasher in D.C. to remind them of the importance of continuing financial support to PBS…Profound eloquence form a humble man. :-)

  2. Tim C says . . . | March 9, 2011 / 11:21 am

    Fred Rogers was a pioneer as well as a great educator but that was a different time and educational media is a completely different beast now. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Fred Rogers and the other public broadcasters of his day educational programming was proven to be a viable audience generator (and money generator based on sales of licensed products based on their shows). A quick look at the network and cable channels shows that the free-enterprise/commercial world has taken the ball and run with it. In fact, PBS is just another competitor in the commercial marketplace for educational content and they really don’t need to be propped up by tax money.

  3. Mike says . . . | March 9, 2011 / 7:35 pm

    I’m afraid you’re missing something, Tim.

    You make it sound as if Fred Rogers was a pioneer in the development of a profitable niche market for corporations to exploit through advertising and merchandising. How utterly twisted. Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was a gentle oasis that placed the psychological development and well-being of children above everything else. One look around commercial television today, with its gladiator-sport “reality” programs and 24-hour partisan “news” networks, and we can see what the invisible hand of the marketplace brings. For many of us, PBS continues to be an oasis from the crass and self-interested noise that you champion.

  4. HastyB says . . . | March 16, 2011 / 1:43 am

    Mr. Rogers where are you when we need you now? My children watched his show evey day and I feel that it contibuted to not only their well being, but to the good decent men they are today. Much of the “children’s programming” today is nothing but garbage. However, I’m sure it make the networks bottom lines look beter.

  5. alissa clough says . . . | October 11, 2012 / 9:12 pm

    Hey, I’m getting goosebumps, too.

    And that song is the most intense thing I’ve heard in a long time.

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