The Buzz

Obama the Grouch?

The residents of Sesame Street are not happy with President Obama.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization that produces and owns Sesame Street, has “asked the Obama campaign to pull down an ad released Tuesday that shows an image of Big Bird and mocks Republican nominee Mitt Romney for holding up the popular children's character as a symbol of unnecessary government spending.”

‘We have approved no campaign ads and, as is our general practice, have requested that both campaigns remove Sesame Street characters and trademarks from their campaign materials,’ said Sesame Workshop.

Both sides of the media have gone after the Big Bird story with gusto. A different WSJ piece points out that Big Bird “likes to maximize revenues and investment gains as much as the next muppet,” citing the $289 million in total assets held by Sesame Workshop at the end of fiscal year 2011 and comparing it to the $8 million Sesame Street receives annually from the government. It calls Big Bird a “symbol of federal programs that allegedly require eternal taxpayer aid, even if it has to be put on the future tax bill of today’s pre-schoolers.”

Jon Stewart addressed the matter at length on Monday night’s Daily Showsurveying responses from conservative commentators and later presenting Patriot Street, a version of Sesame Street made “more palatable to conservatives.”

There can be no denying the entertainment value of this particular campaign scuffle. But with the election fewer than thirty days away, shouldn’t we be focusing on something a bit more substantive? Surely there are bigger issues at stake than who will lose the six-year-old vote.