Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1995]
This is a petition to save Sesame Street. ALL YOU DO IS ADD YOUR NAME TO THE LIST AT THE BOTTOM, then forward it to everyone you know. The only time you send it to the included address is if you are the 50th, 100th, etc. Send it on to everyone you know.
PBS, NPR (National Public Radio), and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding. In spite of the efforts of each station to reduce spending costs and streamline their services, the government officials believe that the funding currently going to these programs is too large a portion of funding for something which is seen as "unworthwhile." Currently, taxes from the general public for PBS equal $1.12 per person per year, and the National Endowment for the Arts equals $.64 a year in total. A January 1995 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll indicated that 76% of Americans wish to keep funding for PBS, third only to national defense and law enforcement as the most valuable programs for federal funding.
Each year, the Senate and House Appropriations commitees each have
When this issue comes up in 1996, the funding will be determined for fiscal years
The only way that our representatives can be aware of the base of support or PBS and funding for these types of programs is by making our voices heard.
Please add your name to this list if you believe in what we stand for. This list will be forwarded to the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives and Congress.
If you happen to be the 50th, 100th, 150th, etc. signer of this petition, please forward to: <email@example.com>. This way we can keep track of the lists and organize them. Forward this to everyone you know, and help us to keep these programs alive.
- In 1998 versions of the above appeared which claimed "Nina Tottenberg" had appeared on NPR's Morning Edition.
- Some versions circulated in 2001 rendered "Nina Tottenberg" as "Nina Rottener."
In 1995 a student at the University of Northern Colorado was writing a paper for a class about the downfall of culture in our society. During the course of her research she discovered proposed congressional budget cuts for PBS funding and, being young and idealistic, she decided to do something about it. She enlisted the help of another student, and the two of them drafted the petition that has been haunting the Internet for years since.
The original contained no reference to Sesame Street
And it did.
Couched in terms of "Save Sesame Street!," this petition decrying proposed government cuts to the 1996 public television budget began circulating on the Internet in the spring of 1995. (The ways of the Internet being what they are, it continues to circulate even though the "crisis" has long passed. Scarelore rarely comes with expiration dates.) The response it raised was breathtaking. The two college students who'd dreamed it up were almost immediately swamped with 2,000 incoming
Stopping what they'd set in motion proved every bit as impossible as keeping track of the incoming mail. After the congressional budget was announced (and arts funding wasn't slaughtered as badly as had been anticipated), they sent out a
Though it's true the 104th Congress did cut the 1996 public television budget to
PBS was neither the force behind this misleading
In fact, SESAME STREET launched its 28th Season on
We can assure you that there is no PBS sanctioned petition. Please disregard any you come across.
On Thursday January 6th's NPR Morning Edition, Nina Totenberg reported that if the Supreme Court supports Congress to cut the budget of the National Endowment of the Arts, it is in effect the end of NEA. This situation creates great concerns about Congressional funding for creative arts in America, since NEA provides major support for NPR (National Public Radio), PBS (Public Broadcasting System), and numerous other creative and performing arts. If NEA is lost or weakened, our lives will be similarly diminished. In spite of the efforts of each station to reduce spending costs and streamline their services, some government officials believe that the funding currently going to these programs is too large a portion of funding for something which is seen as not worthwhile. Currently, taxes from the general public for PBS equal $1.12 per person per year, and the National Endowment for the Arts equals $.64 a year. A January 1995 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll indicated that 76% of Americans wish to keep funding for PBS, third only to national defense and law enforcement as the most valuable programs for federal funding. Each year the Senate and House Appropriations committees each have 13 subcommittees with jurisdiction over many programs and agencies. Each subcommittee passes its own appropriation bill. The goal each year is to have each bill signed by the beginning of the fiscal year, which is
Please add your name to this list and forward it to friends who believe in favor of what this stands for.
The full list will be forwarded to the President of the United States, the Vice President, and the Speaker of the House, whose office has in the past been the instigator of the action to cut funding to these worthwhile programs. This petition is being passed around the Internet. Please add your name to it so funding can be maintained for the NEA, NPR, and PBS.
THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO MAKE INTERNET TECHNOLOGY WORK AS A VOICE IN OUR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM. IT'S EASIER THAN EVER TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD. Please keep the petition rolling. Do not reply to me. Add your name and locale to the list and forward it to others to sign. If you prefer not to sign, please send the list to the email address given below. This is being forwarded to numerous people at once. It won't matter if many people receive the same list as the names are being managed. This is for anyone who thinks NPR and PBS deserve $1.12/year of their taxes. If you sign, please forward the list to others. If not, please don't kill it. **** If you happen to be the 150th, 200th, 250th, tc., signer of this petition, please forward a copy to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. This way we can keep track of the lists and organize them. Forward this to everyone you know and help keep these programs alive **** Thank you. (NOTE: It is preferable you SELECT the entirety of this letter and COPY it into a NEW outgoing message, rather than simply forwarding it.) In your new outgoing message add your name to the bottom of the list, then send it on. Or, if the option is available, do a SEND AGAIN.
Coincidentally, though, in June 2005 the non-existent situation which this petition had been decrying for several years finally hit the news for real when a House committee voted to sharply reduce (and eventually eliminate) federal financial support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The proposed cuts were rescinded by a subsequent vote of the full House.
Barbara "knights of the undead" Mikkelson
Last updated: 23 June 2005
Farhi, Paul. "Public Broadcasting Targeted by House." The Washington Post. 10 June 2005 (P. A1). Sierra, Bryan. "Bert and Ernie Lobby for Funding." United Press International. 1 March 1995. Vittachi, Nury. "It's Amazing What Brews . . ." South China Morning Post. 18 July 1996 (p. 12). Wolf, Richard. "An Epic Battle of the Budget Begins Today." USA Today. 16 March 1995 (p. A4). Electronic Media. "The Insider." 13 May 1996 (p. 10).
NetGuide. "The Little Petition That Grew."
1 November 1996.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "ABC Switches to Movies with Football Season Over."
26 December 1996 (p. F6).