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Sesame Street Is the 1 Percent



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President Obama, who has railed against the “fat-cat bankers on Wall Street” and the wealthy, has been an eager defender of Big Bird and public broadcasting this week in light of Mitt Romney’s comments that he would defund it in last week’s debate. But it turns out that many of those behind Big Bird are actually members of the 1 percent themselves (anyone with a total income of $343,927 or more as of 2009), based on their salaries.

At Corporation for Public Broadcasting, according to the CPB’s 2011 tax forms:

Patricia De Stacy Harrison, president and CEO $361,895

At PBS, according to 2011 tax forms:

Paula Kerger, president and CEO $669,260

Michael Jones,  chief operating officer $477,296

Barbara Landes, chief financial officer, treasurer, and senior vice president $402,355

Katherine Lauderdale, senior vice president and general counsel,  $381,855.

At Sesame Workshop, according to 2011 tax forms:

Gary Knell, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop until October 2011, $988,456

H. Melvin Ming, current president and CEO, $584,572

Lewis Bernstein $406,387

Terry Fitzpatrick $439,741

Myung Kang-Huneke $389,005

Sherrie Westin $463,892

Susan Kolar $401,425

Miranda Barry $397,175

Maura Regan $379,733

Joseph Mazzarino $556,165

Caralynn Sandorf $354,476

Anita Stewart $455,369

And while the actor who plays Big Bird (Carroll Spinney) doesn’t have a salary that puts him in the 1 percent, he’s not far off: Spinney makes $314,072.

And who’s funding this? Well, in part, taxpayers: the federal government gave the CPB a grant of $444.1 million in 2012. 



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