Monday, September 21, 2009

 

Obama's NEA Propaganda Ops Scandal UPDATED

Like he did with the all-encompassing ACORN scandal, Cajonus Giganticus will tell George Stephanopulous he doesn't know anything about using the National Endowment for the Arts as a propaganda arm of his regime. But the Liar-in-Chief is in even more trouble, because Andrew Breitbart strikes again:

EXPLOSIVE NEW AUDIO Reveals White House Using NEA to Push Partisan Agenda
by Patrick Courrielche

Should the National Endowment for the Arts encourage artists to create art on issues being vehemently debated nationally?

That is the question that I set out to discuss a little over three weeks ago when I wrote an article on Big Hollywood entitled The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion?

The question still requires debate but the facts do not.

The NEA and the White House did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address politically controversial issues under contentious national debate. That fact is irrefutable.

But some have claimed that the invite and passages, pulled from the conference call that inspired the article, were taken out of context. Context is what I intend to establish here.

And boy does he ever. First by playing the voice of Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, with the following quotes:

-“I just first of all want to thank everyone for being on the call and just a deep deep appreciation for all the work you all put into the campaign for the 2+ years we all worked together.”
-“We won.”
-“I’m actually in the White House and working towards furthering this agenda, this very aggressive agenda.”
-“We’re going to come at you with some specific asks here.”
-“I hope you guys are ready.”

Ready for what, you ask? Ready for marching orders, in their new roles as Obama Propaganda Tools, from Yosi Sergant, Communications Director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Quoth Yosi,

-“I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment, you know, there’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service.”
-“And then my ask would be to apply artistic, you know, your artistic creative communities utilities and bring them to the table.”
-“Again, I’m really, really honored to be working with you; the National Endowment for the Arts is really honored.”
-“You’re going to see a lot more of us in the next four and hopefully eight years.”

No doubt. Just maybe now not in the way poor Yosi first conceived. Writes author Courrielche,

As someone that has been creating arts initiatives and marketing campaigns for over 14 years, I feel like I have a good sense as to how a pro-Obama arts group, when requested by the NEA to address politically contentious issues, could so easily turn very partisan.

Consider:

Three days after the conference call a coalition of arts groups, led by Americans for the Arts, a participant on the conference call per the meeting contact list and recipient of NEA grants, sent out a press release with the heading “Urgent Call to Congress for Healthcare Reform,” which called for the creation of “a health care reform bill that will create a public health insurance option.” Eleven days after the conference call, Rock the Vote, another participant on the call, announced a health care design contest. “We can’t stand by and listen to lies and deceit coming from those who are against reforming a broken system,” they stated in their announcement. “Enough is Enough. We need designs that tell the country YES WE CARE! Young people demand health care.”

These may both be coincidences and I am not suggesting that the NEA or these groups definitively violated the law in these efforts. That’s for others to discuss and investigate. As I’ve stated in various television interviews, the organizers never discussed any specific policies. However, as can be seen below in the exchange between Nell Abernathy of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, and Michael Skolnik, the third party moderator, the meeting seemed designed to deflect any questionable conversations to the “third party”, while keeping the issue of health care top-of-mind with the precision of a well positioned product placement...

...The NEA did encourage a handpicked, pro-Obama arts group to address issues under contentious national debate. That fact is irrefutable.

This practice has never been the historical role of the NEA. The NEA’s role is to support excellence in the arts, to increase access to the arts, and to be a leader in arts education. Using the arts to address contentiously debated issues is political subversion. And the fact that the White House played a role in encouraging the arts to address contentious issues should also be considered a government overreach.

There's much more to the story of how Obama is subverting this government agency and bending it to his personal will; read it all here.

Meanwhile, the pressure starts to build:

Demand Congressional Investigation: NEA Conference Call Broke Laws
by Ben Shapiro

In the aftermath of the Andrew Breitbart/James O’Keefe/Hannah Giles-broken ACORN scandal, President Obama and his allies in Congress have distanced themselves from the community organizing goliath. Congress has cut off funds, and Obama has refused to speak about the matter. End of story, right?

Wrong.

There’s only one problem: the ACORN mentality – pinpointing and mobilizing particular groups in support of a radical-left agenda – is no longer restricted to government-funded private non-profits like ACORN. The ACORN mentality now dominates the government itself. Taxpayer dollars are being used by elected officials to encourage the deification of President Obama and his agenda. And one of the chief organs of the government propaganda machine is the National Endowment for the Arts.

Let’s start from the beginning. On August 25, artist Patrick Courrielche told the story of a conference call he attended on August 10. That conference call was hosted by the NEA, the White House Office of Public Engagement, and United We Serve. The goal of the conference call: “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.” The call would push “a group of artists, producers, promoters, organizers, influencers, marketers, taste-makers, leaders or just plain cool people to join together and work together to promote a more civically engaged America and celebrate how the arts can be used for a positive change!”
If this sounds suspicious to you, that’s because it is. Never before has the NEA explicitly urged artists to tackle particular social issues like health care. But that is how this Administration works.

The people behind the conference call, Courrielche reported, were Yosi Sargent, Director of Communications for the National Endowment for the Arts; Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Nell Abernathy, Director of Outreach for United We Serve; Thomas Bates, Vice President of Civic Engagement for Rock the Vote; and Michael Skolnik, Political Director for Russell Simmons. Sargent sent the actual email invitation. When The Washington Times called Sargent for confirmation, Sargent denied involvement with the email. He claimed that Skolnik had sent the invitation.

He lied.

The email came directly from Sargent – which is to say, from the NEA itself. Most astonishingly, the email contained a copy of a notice from United We Serve. That notice read: “A call has come in to our generation. A call from the top. A call from a house that is White. … President Obama is asking us to come together … Now is the time for us to answer this call.” Sargent has since been “reassigned” at the NEA.

Two days after the conference call, on August 12, 21 separate arts organizations came out and endorsed Obama’s health care plan. One of the endorsing organizations, the non-profit “charitable organization” Americans for the Arts, denied any presence on the conference call.

Like Sargent, they too were lying.

According to The Washington Times, both a participant on the call and a partial list of participants confirm that Americans for the Arts board member Kerry Washington was on the call. In the past, Washington has testified before Congress as a representative of the Americans for the Arts Artists Committee.

Americans for the Arts is a 501(c)3, which means that legally, it must remain apolitical and cannot endorse candidates. It has an associated 501(c)4, ArtsVote or Arts Action Fund, a non-profit political action wing that can stump for causes, not for candidates. Naturally, the two wings are closely associated; the CEO of both is Robert Lynch, who participated in a subsequent NEA call that occurred on August 27. The 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 have the same Washington D.C. and New York addresses. And Lynch, naturally, supports President Obama to the hilt.

In fact, the private organizational participants sponsoring the call comprise what can best be described as ACORN For The Arts. Each and every organization was deeply involved with President Obama as a candidate, and each and every one pledges allegiance to him now that he occupies the Oval Office.

Again, much more including a full list of partisan players from Camp Cajonus Giganticus. The bottom line:

Every government employee involved in this conference call should be fined and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We need a full Congressional investigation – we already know that it infects members of the White House staff, including Buffy Wicks. The transformation of our government into a self-entrenched continuous campaigning machine must be stopped now.
Again, read it all.

Ace points out that Winner & Associates, the PR firm (tied to David Axelrod) that put together the Sarah Palin hit-job vids, was in on the NEA conference call. Wonder what they were doing there, hmm? Well that's easy: helping run the whole Obama Propaganda campaign.

Who would have guessed this shockah? Patterico has proof the White House was lying about the nature of the NEA conference call:

I believe I might have mentioned that Andrew Breitbart signaled that his next news drop would relate to the NEA.

And it does. But it involves so much more.

Today’s revelation is the extensive proof that shows the White House used the National Endowment for the Arts to push a political agenda favorable to President Obama. But it gets worse: the Administration lied about it, and tried to cover it up.

You already know the background: an NEA spokesman participated in a conference call designed to encourage artists to further Obama’s legislative agenda. This was revealed back in August at Big Hollywood. What is new today is the full transcript of the call — and how clearly the NEA was involved in urging artists to propagandize for Obama.

Naturally, the NEA and the Obama administration denied this. According to the Los Angeles Times (in a blog post, of course, and not an actual newsprint story), the NEA denied any purpose to further a legislative agenda:

The NEA issued a statement saying that it took part in the conference to help inform arts organizations about opportunities to sponsor volunteer service projects themselves, or have their members take part in other volunteer efforts. “This call was not a means to promote any legislative agenda, and any suggestions to that end are simply false,” the statement said.
The White House similarly denied any desire to further a legislative agenda:

Responding by e-mail Wednesday, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said the Aug. 10 teleconference “was not meant to promote any legislative agenda — it was a discussion on the United We Serve effort and how all Americans can participate.”

More on what Patterico calls "this corrosive precedent".

Please, sir, I want more.

UPDATE
Well, that was prescient, because I see El Rushbo has more.

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