Novak (novak) wrote,
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Personal: Mr. Rogers Before Congress on Early Childhood TV Programming

Something led me to looking up something about Pittsburgh favourite Mr. Rogers yesterday before getting together with Andrea and Patrick, and I found myself really struck by this story where, according to Wikipedia,
In 1969, Rogers appeared before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications. His goal was to support funding for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, in response to significant proposed cuts. In about six minutes of testimony, Rogers spoke of the need for social and emotional education that public television provided. He passionately argued that alternative television programming like his Neighborhood helped encourage children to become happy and productive citizens, sometimes opposing less positive messages in media and in popular culture. He even recited the lyrics to one of his songs.

The chairman of the subcommittee, John O. Pastore, was not previously familiar with Rogers' work, and was sometimes described as gruff and impatient. However, he reported that the testimony had given him goosebumps, and declared, "Looks like you just earned the $20 million." The subsequent congressional appropriation, for 1971, increased PBS funding from $9 million to $22 million.
Then, thanks to that occasional Wonder of Information Access that is YouTube and its cousins, I was able to watch his actual congressional testimony, which was oddly compelling. I'm wondering now about showering the nieces with Mr. Rogers DVDs....
Tags: america, cultural, ecumenical, education, family, friends-marquette era, grace, haley, historical, internet, media, movies/film/tv, personal, political, sophia
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