The mainstream media and the leftist cable organizations didn't bother to report the discovery, but on August 10 the director of communication for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Yosi Sergant and Buffy Wicks, White House Office of Public Engagement staffer who reports directly to Valerie Jarrett held a conference call with thousands of artists and activists. Their mission was to recruit them to create art that would push the Obama agenda.
On first blush, you may ask what's the big deal? The arts community is traditionally liberal and certainly strongly supported Obama in the election. But, you would be missing a very important distinction. This call, directly out of the White House, clearly violated the specific legislation used for the creation of the NEA. The NEA is "the largest single funder of art in the country", as pointed out in a piece written by Andrew Klavan for Pajamas Media. He writes from the viewpoint of a lifelong member of the arts community. He quotes the political director (really?!) for Russell Simmons, "hip-hop mogul" saying to the participants, "you are the thought leaders. You are the ones that, if you create a piece of art or promote a piece of art, or create a campaign for a company, and tell our country and our young people sort of what to do and what to be into; and what's cool and what's not cool."
Useful idiots. That is what the Obama administration and their trained mouthpieces think of the artistic community. Propaganda machine on steroids. And, oh yeah, be cool.
From the WSJ online: "Did the Obama administration break any laws in its attempt to enlist federally subsidized artists as partisan foot soldiers? We're not expert enough to know, but Power Line's John Hinderaker has this analysis:"
"The operation may well have been illegal. Public funds are not supposed to be expended to support partisan projects. Beyond that, it is unconstitutional to grant or deny federal funds on the basis of the recipient's political actions or opinions. National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley. The NEA is the single largest funder of the arts, and several participants in the August 10 conference call had recently received NEA checks. It would have been entirely reasonable for those on the phone call to conclude that future NEA funding could be influenced by their willingness to play ball with the Obama administration's political agenda. "
"Moreover, the Hatch Act limits the ability of federal employees to engage in partisan politics. [Ex-NEA communications director Yosi] Sergant's sending of the email invitation to artists and arts groups, using his government email account, could be considered a bright line violation of the act, as could his apparent solicitation of political support from any arts group that had an application for funding pending before the NEA. Likewise, [the White House's Buffy] Wicks' participation in the call would appear to be illegal if she was "on duty" and if the call was deemed political in nature."
Buffy Wicks -WH Office of Public Engagement - former astroturfer, Obama & Union & ACORN cog, is listed as in charge of Serve.org - channeling volunteers into left wing community organizations. She is supervised by Valerie Jarrett. How was the artistic community to take this call? It would seem an implication of a quid pro quo to the unsuspecting listener.
After the transcript of this teleconference call was made public by BigGovernment.com - the brain child of Andrew Breitbart, the White House has signaled that perhaps they will re-visit this action. As Roger Kimball points out, these loons are absolutely drunk on their own perception of how powerful they truly are in the big picture. They are in charge and they will tell you what is best for you. And, they will use your favorite artist, filmmaker, actor or writer as a means to the end.
Yosi Sergant has since been "re-assigned" and no longer listed as director of communications for NEA.
As Kimball says, stay tuned. This is only the beginning.
This is the link to the transcript and audio - http://biggovernment.com/2009/09/21/full-nea-conference-call-transcript-and-audio/