Huckabee Pushes Misinformation On Contraception Mandate And "Millionaire Muppet" Big Bird
Blog ››› ››› DAVID SHERE
Fox News host Mike Huckabee falsely said that Sesame Street receives $455 million in federal subsidies and that the Obama administration did not exempt religious institutions from having to provide contraception coverage to employees. In fact, Sesame Workshop, the production company of Sesame Street, receives only about $7 million in government contributions, and the administration exempted religious institutions from its reproductive health mandate.
Huckabee appeared on Your World Friday to discuss President Obama's position on taxes. During his appearance, Huckabee criticized Obama for highlighting Romney's promise to cut funding for Big Bird, saying that Big Bird is "a millionaire Muppet," and that the Sesame Street franchise receives "a $455 million federal subsidy."
However, as Slate reported in January, "Sesame Street and its production company the Sesame Workshop do make a lot of money from product licensing, but not nearly enough to cover expenses." Indeed, according to the company's most recent available federal tax returns, Sesame Workshop lost $6 million in 2010: Total revenue that year was about $133 million, but expenses added up to more than $139 million. As for a federal subsidy, according to the most recent tax returns, Sesame Workshop received about $7 million in government contributions -- only about 5 percent of its total revenue. The majority of Sesame Street's funding comes from donors.
Huckabee's claim that "there was no" religious accommodation for the Obama administration's reproductive health mandate is also false. In January, the Obama administration announced that nonprofit employers, including those connected to religious organizations, would be required to provide health insurance coverage for "preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible." After religious leaders protested the move, the Obama administration exempted churches and other religious groups from the mandate.