08.31.2009 0

Too Hot Not To Note: ‘Artists’ as Servants of Power

  • On: 09/24/2009 09:23:40
  • In: Barack Obama
  • “In future only those who are members of a [artists] chamber are allowed to be productive in our cultural life. Membership is open only to those who fulfill the entrance condition. In this way all unwanted and damaging elements have been excluded.” ~ Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda

    ALG Editor’s Note: In the following featured commentary from the Wall Street Journal, author James Taranto exposes an insidious effort by some within the Obama Administration to assure that only those artists who support him and his agenda will receive taxpayer-financed National Endowment for the Arts funding.


    ‘Artists’ as Servants of Power

    The Obama administration remakes the National Endowment for the Arts.

    By JAMES TARANTO

    Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood is out today with new details on the National Endowment for the Arts scandal, including a full transcript and audio recording, as well as a CliffsNotes summary by John Nolte, of the notorious Aug. 10 conference call in which administration officials urged artists to help promote President Obama’s legislative agenda.

    Formally, the call was led by Michael Skolnik, who is not a government employee. But Skolnik declares at the start of the call that he is acting on behalf of the administration:

    “I have been asked by folks in the White House and folks in the NEA about a month ago in a conversation that was had. We had the idea that I would help bring together the independent artists community around the country. “

    Several administration officials also participate in the call: Nell Abernathy of United We Serve, part of the Corp. for National and Community Service; Buffy Wicks of the White House Office of Public Engagement; and Yosi Sergant, then communications director for the NEA (he has been “reassigned” since the scandal broke).

    The administration participants seem to realize that they are treading on shaky ethical and legal ground. When one artist asks Abernathy “what we can do to help on critical advocacy issues like health care reform, cap-and-trade policy,” she replies:

    “Yeah, I can address that a little bit, and the reason only a little bit is largely because in my role at a federal agency, I’m precluded from going too far down the specific steps what people can do to advocate. . . .

    I could get that information to Michael [Skolnik] and he could get it out. We can’t sort–as a representative of the corporation, I’m not capable of giving you more guidance than just sending you to the right person.”

    Yet she is capable of participating in the call. What happened after the call ought to raise eyebrows too. As Nolte reports:

    “Sergant then turns the call over to Thomas Bates from “Rock the Vote,” who offers up an example of local environmental activism involving a garbage sculpture. Within days after this call Rock the Vote would launch a “health care design contest.”

    A mere two days after the call a group of 21 art organizations endorsed health care reform.

    Of those 21 organizations, “16 of the groups and affiliated organizations received nearly $2 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in the 150 days before the conference call.”

    The NEA Web site describes its mission as follows: “supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.” Organizing propaganda for the party in power is not mentioned, nor is financially rewarding politically friendly artists. Continue reading here.

    ALG Editor’s Note Continued: The Wall Street Journal also reports “Within two days of the phone call, 21 arts organizations endorsed President Obama’s health-care reform plan. The Washington Times has reported that 16 had been recipients of federal NEA grants in recent months.” So why is it that some with the Obama Administration want to govern artists and the NEA with such a heavy-handed approach?

    “The organizational union of mass demonstrations, the press, film, radio, literature, theater, etc., is only the mechanical side to the matter. It is not so much that all these means are in one hand. The important thing is that this hand knows how to master and control them. Establishing a central office is not difficult. What is difficult is finding people who are experts in an area previously not a concern of the state.” ~ Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda

    Enough said.

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