Elmo Rallies Toddler Support for FCC’s National Broadband Plan—But Should He?

by on March 30, 2010 · 3 comments

Just in case you missed Adam Thierer’s unhinged rant, My Swan Song Moment: I Will Take Elmo Hostage in the Name of First Amendment Freedoms!, you’ll want to go back and read it after watching this:

Not exactly a highpoint in the history of deliberative democracy or rhetoric (in the best sense), but I suppose it beats wading through the 376 page National Broadband Plan… Anyway, given all this talk about increasing funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as a way of “saving media,” I do have to wonder: Just how far will we go in allowing taxpayer-funded muppets to rally public support for this (or future) administration’s policy agenda? I mean, if the White Houe had put Oscar the Grouch on national TV to lobby for health care socialization “reform” by explaining whatever trash-related chronic medial conditions are responsible for making him so darn cranky, I think some folks would rightly have been upset.

Yes, I’m trying to be funny here but, seriously, where’s the line between harmless fun and… inappropriate use of taxpayer-funded resources for political purposes? I’m not sure. The administration probably crossed that line last September when President Obama gave a speech to kids and the Department of Education sent a proposed lesson plan to schools nationwide (later withdrawn) suggesting that pre-K-6 teachers have their students “write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president.” But is Elmo’s meeting with Chairman Genachowski ok as a way of rallying kids—and, more importantly, their parents and everyone else who finds it cute—around a policy agenda? Any thoughts on where this line should be drawn?

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