National Endowment for the Arts Recruiting Artists to Create Propaganda on Behalf of Obama Administration? [UPDATED]
Big Hollywood reports:
... I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda - health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”Your tax dollars at work ... building a propaganda machine for Obama. The GOP will probably soon come to regret that they didn't kill the NEA - as they promised they would do back in 1994 in the Contract With America - when they had the chance.
Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were “health care” and “energy and environment.” The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans.
It sounded, how should I phrase it…unusual, that the NEA would invite the art community to a meeting to discuss issues currently under vehement national debate. I decided to call in, and what I heard concerned me.
Discussed throughout the conference call was a hope that this group would be one that would carry on past the United We Serve campaign to support the President’s initiatives and those issues for which the group was passionate. The making of a machine appeared to be in its infancy, initiated by the NEA, to corral artists to address specific issues. This function was not the original intention for creating the National Endowment for the Arts.
A machine that the NEA helped to create could potentially be wielded by the state to push policy. Through providing guidelines to the art community on what topics to discuss and providing them a step-by-step instruction to apply their art form to these issues, the “nation’s largest annual funder of the arts” is attempting to direct imagery, songs, films, and literature that could create the illusion of a national consensus. This is what Noam Chomsky calls “manufacturing consent.”
Here's the horrified reaction of a former deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities:
... Basically, the Obama appointees were trying to enlist the arts community as an army to promote the administration’s domestic agenda, starting with the health-care wars. They’d been “selected for a reason,” the arts types were told: in part, because they know how to “make a stink.” Perhaps these are the folks Obama hopes will defend his health-care plan from the attacks regular Americans have been launching against it at town halls. You sort of have to shake off how pathetic this is in order to see how appalling it is.(emphasis added)
... the horrible lack of ethics: in implying in any way to potential applicants for taxpayer-funded grants that they must promote the president’s agenda ...
What these appointees have done is over the top. During my tenure as deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities — the NEA’s sister agency — during the George W. Bush administration, any action resembling this call would have triggered immediate dismissal. But saying things like the following was simply unfathomable: “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally? . . . Bear with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely . . .” Yet this is precisely what an Obama NEA appointee told the arts leaders on this call.
Courrielche asks: “Is the hair on your arms standing up yet?” Mine’s up.
This reaction is muted compared to the indignant outrage and hysteria that such an effort by the Bush Aministration ... say, in favor of the War on Terror ... would have (rightly) engendered among not only those on the left and their media sycophants, but a significant number of conservatives and libertarians as well.