Free Markets, Free People


NEA = Ministry of Propaganda (Update)

As teased last night, Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood has a bunch of new articles up today regarding the NEA efforts to push Pres. Obama’s agenda through propaganda:

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.

In addition to the Patrick Courrielche article above, Breitbart has a series of others dissecting and analyzing the NEA and White House actions on the Big Government site. While other than complete transcripts and audio of the conference call, not a whole lot new is revealed in these reports. There is a good rundown of the facts versus White House claims, as well as a link to some prior investigation into the money angle. However, I think Patterico cogently sums up the importance of this (still developing) story:

It would be a mistake to dismiss this story as unimportant because there is no jaw-dropping angle like ACORN staffers’ apparent complicity in trafficking in under-age children for prostitution. Consider what is happening: the NEA is encouraging artists to create propaganda for a president’s policy initiatives. This is a corrosive precedent — and what’s more, it illustrates the overarching danger of the Obama administration: government, by increasingly taking over various aspects of American society, threatens to bend society to the will of a single man.

It would also be a mistake to dismiss the story as old just because the basic contours of the story were revealed in August. Since then, the NEA and the Obama administration have denied pursuing a legislative agenda in the call; today it is clear that they lied. What’s more, they tried to cover it up with the reassignment of Sergant. And the media played right along, for the most part acting as though that was the end of it.

From a politics standpoint, the potential illegality involved here is the paramount issue, and the use of federal funds for propaganda runs a close (and closely related) second. However, from where I sit it’s the all-out assault on the traditional media that’s so interesting. Breitbart has now twice invited to MSM to look behind the curtain to see what they’re protecting, and twice they’ve passed. He forced them to cover the ACORN story. Will he do it again with the NEA scandal? Keep in mind that Breitbart has darkly hinted that there is more to come:

Everything you needed to know about the unorthodox roll out of the now-notorious ACORN sting videos was hidden in plain sight in my Sept. 7 column, “Katie Couric, Look in the Mirror.” ACORN was not the only target of those videos; so were Katie, Brian, Charlie and every other mainstream media pooh-bah.

They were not going to report this blockbuster unless they were forced to. And they were. What’s more, it ain’t over yet. Not every hint I dropped in that piece about what was to come has played itself out yet.Stay tuned.

Does that mean that there is yet more to come on the NEA promoting propaganda in support of the president’s agenda? It’s hard to say. If it turns out that some laws were broken, however, expect Breitbart to rub the MSM’s noses in it with as much publicity as he can muster (which is likely a tremendous amount).

UPDATE: While the Obama administration is busy using the tax-payer funded NEA to push its agenda, it’s also using its police powers to harass those who speak out against its agenda (via HotAir,):

The government is investigating a major insurance company for allegedly trying to scare seniors with a mailer warning they could lose important benefits under health care legislation in Congress.

The Health and Human Services Department launched its investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.

“It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform,” Baucus said Monday, disclosing the HHS investigation.

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is cooperating with the investigation and stopped the mailer earlier this month, company spokesman Tom Noland said Monday.

Now, you can call me a conspiracy theorist if it makes you feel important and wise, but how else other than “totalitarian” would you describe “free speech for me but not for thee” enforced at the end of a gun? Does that necessarily mean that we’re headed for gulags? No, but don’t let the failure to cross that line fool you. The Obama administration is putting on a full court press to pass its agenda, and apparently has no qualms about using every resource within its power, legal or otherwise, to accomplish that goal.

[This post is authored by Michael Wade. Because of technical difficulties, it has been posted under my account - McQ]

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20 Responses to NEA = Ministry of Propaganda (Update)

  • Left wing propaganda is really not the issue. The real issue is why is the government funding any art at all? Why didn’t the republicans even try to kill off this silly entitlement?

    • Why didn’t the republicans even try to kill off this silly entitlement?

      Because they’re dissembling con men who talk a good game on reducing government but never expect to actually go through with it?

      That’s my theory anyway.

    • We have been funding the NEA for awhile. Going against taxpayer funding only gains some traction when it is something like “piss jesus”, and then the left does its best to confuse the issue as “free speech”.

      The Obamaganda aspect is yet a seperate issue, and one that stands on its own. Even to moderates. And it may help people to understand why taxpayer money shouldn’t fund the NEA in the first place.

      In essence, taxpayers fund NEA: Ho hum. Taxpayers fund partisan propaganda: not that’s a big deal.

    • kyle8Why didn’t the republicans even try to kill off this silly entitlement?

      Would YOU want to go on the Sunday morning talk shows to be pilloried as a philistine who HATES the arts??? It takes a strong man to stand up to the collective scorn of such intellectual and cultural titans as David Gregory, George Stephanopolous, Bob Schieffer, Cokie Roberts, George Will, and John King. Most Republican politicians – nay, most mortal men! – simply haven’t got that kind of strength.

      / sarc

  • The NEA became reality in 1965 by Congress and President Johnson.While it looks like they have done the good work over the years there have been times when the top brass have come out and made comments about some policiy issues. But in the end it is a Federal funded entity and if the people running the government in Washington feel they can turn it into a Propaganda Mill you can bet they will try.
    MGC
    http://mgc-theamericanfederalist.blogspot.com/

  • Gotta love how this week is turning out! The losers: MSN, Acorn, the NEA, Valerie Jarrett…

  • For whatever reason, I can’t post anything right now, so this will have to do as an update. While the Obama administration is busy using the tax-payer funded NEA to push its agenda, it’s also using its police powers to harass those who speak out against its agenda (via HotAir,):

    The government is investigating a major insurance company for allegedly trying to scare seniors with a mailer warning they could lose important benefits under health care legislation in Congress.

    The Health and Human Services Department launched its investigation of Humana after getting a complaint from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., a senior lawmaker usually viewed as a reliable ally of the insurance industry.

    “It is wholly unacceptable for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject — particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health care reform,” Baucus said Monday, disclosing the HHS investigation.

    Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is cooperating with the investigation and stopped the mailer earlier this month, company spokesman Tom Noland said Monday.

    Now, you can call me a conspiracy theorist if it makes you feel important and wise, but how else other than “totalitarian” would you describe “free speech for me but not for thee” enforced at the end of a gun? Does that necessarily mean that we’re headed for gulags? No, but don’t let the failure to cross that line fool you. The Obama administration is putting on a full court press to pass its agenda, and apparently has no qualms about using every resource within its power, legal or otherwise, to accomplish that goal.

  • Did “Rock The Vote” violate it’s 501(c)(3) “non-partisan non-profit” status by engaging in this activity ?
    The thin veil of “progressive” rather that “Democrat” seems to have been pulled back here.

  • The era of the mainstream media is over. They’re dead now. Open to the next chapter in the book of media history.

    As a bubble theorist and risk philosopher (among other entertaining annoyances which distract my classically trained risk professional peers), it is remarkably refreshing to see Andrew Breitbart validate the truth in the sudden abrupt and discoursively violent end to a long undead epoch. May I be one of the first to suggest that it will be Breitbart’s biggovernment.com that will be historically noted as the significant change event that provided the demarcation between terrains, that of the past era and the future we have stepped into.

    It’s perversely funny how it took a conservative movement to signify the phase transition, much akin to Slavoj Zizek’s observation that it took Nixon to go to China and open relations with the Communist nation (as such an act of the Left would lack the necessary perceptual sincerity).

    Our challenge now will be understanding what this new terrain means, what its potentiality is, and how we navigate it. No need to pay attention to the bitter clingers of the prior epoch.

    • I wouldn’t go as far as declaring the mainstream media dead, but for better or worse, the Era of Woodward and Bernstein is over.
      What was once a quest for the truth has morphed into a quest for the partisan.

    • If the MSM was dead, Obama would have never gotten elected.

      It may not have its former reach, but it is still a force of influence. I think sometimes regular web surfers don’t realize they are still in the minority when it comes to getting political news from the internet.

  • jpm100 and sshiell, I’d very much disagree. The MSM certainly was in a state of undeadness, not live and vital. It regressed to a negative quality for several decades, perpetrating great harm upon societal discourse through their state of unbeing. I’d suggest that Breitbart created the moment that required them to pronounce their silence to these stories, and in doing so, signified the transition to a post-MSM era.

    Granted, this is my ranting and conjecture. Most would argue they were dead all along, but dead (null) beings merely don’t exist, and we all know from the damage they’ve continued to do, including bringing forward The Parasite of political leaders ala Obama (the fascist who masquerades as a marxist akin to a digger wasp within the belly of the spider), I think it’s more useful to see them in the not-dead quality.

    Why any of this is relevant? Should we be in a new epoch, new rules prevail. Those who succeed are those who:

    1) identify there is a new epoch/terrain/landscape earlier
    2) discern what the rules of this terrain appear to be
    3) instantiate rules into policy, the “map” for the terrain within

    The right, having been the ones to open the door, have an opportunity for a head start. Consider too that the left is wrapped up in the numbing cult of personality and will be too preoccupied in hero worship for the next few years, especially as the Leader either ascends further toward messianic destiny or descends past the thrown of Carter toward ultimate failure. Either way, libertarians (and the non-social conservative conservatives) have an opportunity to advance on the new territory and gain a significant competitive advantage.

  • I fear that, absent some huge revelation from Breitbart along the lines of video of TAO laughing maniacally (BWAH-HAH-HAH!!) over using the NEA to take over the world, this story won’t go anywhere. Many of us on the right are unsurprised that TAO or some other politician would try to use government entitites for his own ends and want those entities eliminated or severely cut back to reduce the damage an unscrupulous man can do. The left, for all their yap about freedom and government control and “fight the power, maaaaaan!”, have no problem with a big, powerful government as they plan to use it for their own purposes. Most people in the middle… simply don’t know and don’t care. Indeed, I’d wager that many people would say that it’s not only legal but NORMAL for the government to produce its own propaganda, and would be morally certain that every president has done it.

    As for MiniTru, I agree with jpm100: it ain’t dead. It has certainly (as Neo says) stopped looking for “the Truth” and instead become a purely partisan organization, but it still has great influence.

  • Like any local victory, it looks great to the people involved. But it’s going to end up as a minor tactical victory, not a strategic one.

    Unfortunately those of us watching it, recognizing it’s significance, already understood the danger. This is simply a further manifestation of the administration’s overreach. The ministry of propaganda aspect was instantly obvious when Brietbarts site first posted the information back in August.

    I just don’t think it’s going to do enough, if ANY good. Congress certainly isn’t going to go full bore into finding out Who Knew What When over in the White House as they’d have done if Bush’s administration had mustered this meeting. What would normally now devolve into a crisis on the front page of the NYT for weeks on end will be lucky if it gets a single lead page mention. What would normally be used as a massive logjam to stop legislation like Health Care reform and Cap and Trade won’t even be noticed (unless there’s a miracle waiting in the wings somewhere that I’m not seeing).

    Scorn the MSM if you like, if they decided to bring their guns to bear on this they could arouse enough (more) outrage to derail the administration’s agenda for at least 8 months. But that’s NOT going to happen. They have every reason to ignore or downplay this because it points to the fact that the MSM are accessories before, during, and after the fact. They’re not going to highlight how they’ve been complicit in this all along. And as someone pointed out above, those of us who get our info off the web are not as large in number as would be required to make this story suddenly find it’s running legs all over the country.

    This is working out to be a perfect storm, if it wasn’t already obvious – The White House, the Legislature, and the Mainstream Media all working together behind a guy just arrogant and inexperienced enough to believe his own hype, with leftist tendencies and a horde of leftist, too smart for their own good, advisers behind him. We’re heading out of simply dangerous territory into the Frightening Zone.

  • A further thought I meant to include – interesting that the ministry of Propaganda was supposed to be cranking up on ‘service’ at about the same time that “dear leader” was going to have a chat with the school kids and the Department of Education talking points lesson plan that would cause them to think of ‘how they could help the President’.

    All just one huge cosmic coincidence I’m sure.

  • I’d argue that Rathergate and Charles Johnson’s throbing memo were a key juncture between the MSM and bloggers.

    The MSM still has pull with seniors, and with whoever prefers to have someone else do their thinking. I prefer the net, but I realize that there are no true objective sources of information, and I sift and sort my information, and analyze it to see if it is reasonable. Some people prefer to simply trust in the reliability of Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, or the NYT (yes, there are people who implicitly trust those sources).

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