Sep
21
2009

A roundup of the NEA propaganda scandal.

here’s not much to say about the NEA propaganda scandal that hasn’t been said by others, but a link round-up will be hopefully useful for those getting up to speed.

  • We begin here with the Big Government articles themselves.  Summary: transcripts and audio reveal that the conference call of August 10th involving the federal agencies NEA, United We Serve, and the Office of Public Engagement; and various artist groups‘ involved the explicit recruitment of said artists’ groups to assist in pushing the administration’s legislative agenda.
  • This despite claims by the NEA that said call did not pursue any legislative agenda.
  • Note also that OPE Deputy Director (and Valerie Jarrett crony) Buffy Wicks has long-standing ties with ACORN.
  • Patterico points out the obvious: that both the NEA and the administration lied when they claimed that no legislative agenda was addressed.  Despite the fact that this call was ostensibly hosted by Michael Skolnik, Skolnik explicitly stated that he was working on the behest of the NEA and the White House – a claim that was not refuted either by Deputy Director Wicks or at-the-time NEA Director of Communications Yosi Sergant (both of whom were on the call).  For that matter, the primary interest of Nell Abernathy, director of outreach for United We Serve (also on the call) is to make clear that Skolnik is the cutout between the artists’ groups and the government.
  • I should point out at this point that Sergant is, of course, linked with Shepard Fairey, who had his own representative on the call.
  • Ace of Spades notes that Winner & Associates were on the conference call as well.  You may remember them; they were a Axelrod-affiliated PR group that got traced back as being behind some rather nasty anti-Palin fake grassroots astroturf during the election last year.  They were apparently on the call at the invitation of OPE Director Wicks.
  • You can refresh your memory of the Winner Incident here at The Jawa Report.  How interesting that they were there, and invited by an administration official, no less.
  • Ace of Spades, again, quotes Slublog on the Hatch Act.  As in, this is actually technically forbidden by federal statute (I personally note ‘technically’ because Hatch Act prosecutions are few and far between).
  • Ed Morrissey has what is probably the line of the day (“We do not fund the NEA for it to produce Leni Riefenstahl-type art”), and notes that the Washington Times would like help tracking down some of the call participants.
  • And finally, I would like to remind everybody reading this that groups involved in pushing the administration’s health care agenda had racked up roughly 2 million dollars in grants from the NEA prior to it.

So… the administration lied about their role in a conference call that was nakedly about using NEA client groups to pursue an explicitly pro-administration agenda – a call that, when revealed, resulted in an immediate reassignment of an NEA staffer and an attempt to scrub the record.  Of the groups involved, at least one was not an actual artist organization, and it was made clear throughout the call that the goal was to create partisan political materials, not nonpartisan art.  And, of course, the players involved were all of them affiliated with each other in various, sundry, and in some cases non-artistic ways.

But sure, other than all of that we have nothing to worry about.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

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