'Million Muppet March' to take place in Washington

Posted Oct 13, 2012 by Leigh Goessl
In the days leading up to Election Day, humans and Muppets plan to travel to the Washington Mall to support public broadcasting. This initiative emerged after Mitt Romney's now famous "Big Bird" comment during the Oct. 3 presidential debate.
Big Bird out of a job
Big Bird out of a job
Screenshot via Twitter
According to NBC Washington, the rally, called "The Million Muppet March", will take place on Sat., Nov. 3 to show support for public broadcasting.
After the first debate in the 2012 election season, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney made a comment that if he were to be elected, he would halt funding to public broadcasting.
“I’m sorry, Jim [Lehrer]. I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you too," Romney had said. "But I’m not going to — I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”
Romney's comment during the debate drew a lot of attention.
In response, two men, Michael Bellavia, 43, an L.A. animation executive, and Chris Mecham, 46, a university student in Idaho, acting separately, each had set up a website and a Facebook page in support of public television.
"Romney was using Muppets as a rhetorical device to talk about getting rid of public broadcasting, which is really so much bigger than Sesame Street," Mecham said. "While he was still talking I was thinking of ways I could express my frustration at that argument. Before the debates were over I had put up the Million Muppet March Facebook page."
Once each man realized what the other was doing, they joined together.
"I figured, why just make it a virtual show of support? Why not take this opportunity because it seemed like there was already a growing interest in it and actually make it an active, participatory event," Bellavia said, reported Reuters (courtesy Huffington Post). "I literally just said, 'It's happening.'"
The Obama campaign had subsequently put focus on Romney's Big Bird comment, which led to Sesame Workshop, the producers of 'Sesame Street', asking the Obama campaign to stop using Big Bird in its ads.
"Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, non-profit organisation and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns," the organization said. "We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down."
PBS issued its own statement which expressed disappointment over Romney's comment and the fact that "PBS became a political target" during the debate.
Reuters reported PBS received "$445 million of $3.8 trillion in federal budget outlays in 2012."
If PBS loses funding, however, will the lovable 'Big Bird' truly be out of a job? Digital Journal reporter Andrew Moran recently published , "Why the free market can save Big Bird if Mitt Romney is elected," which further explores the issue.
According to the Facebook event created for the rally, the "Million Muppet March" is expected to take place between 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. EDT. The page also has listed 476 Facebook members as planning to attend, and 174 users who said "maybe". The event will reportedly also include skits and musical presentations featuring the Muppets.
Overall, the page has, so far, garnered over 12,000 "Likes".