[Guest post by DRJ]
In the past weeks, Big Hollywood has posted articles on telephone conferences by the National Endowment for the Arts with artists encouraging them to help Obama’s legislative agenda. That smacks of politicizing the NEA.
“The communications director for the National Endowment for the Arts is no longer in his job amid a flap over suggestions he suggested artists work to further President Obama’s legislative agenda.
A conservative artist writing on the site Big Hollywood first complained that the official, later identified as Yosi Sargent, had been on a conference call with artists aimed at furthering President Obama’s legislative agenda — a bit of a no-no for the agency, which does its best to stay apolitical.
The agency, for now, is keeping it utterly cryptic: Sargent is “currently an employee,” said spokeswoman Sally Gifford, who said she couldn’t comment on whether he is communications director.”
Maybe his status is UTB – “under the bus.”
“On August 12, a group of 21 arts organizations endorsed President Barack Obama’s health reform plan only 48 hours after a conference call in which a top National Endowment for the Arts official asked arts groups for help in advancing the administration’s policy agenda, including health care.
One reason the arts organizations may have been so swift to follow the administration’s suggestion is that 16 of the groups and affiliated organizations received nearly $2 million in grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in the 150 days before the conference call. According to a Washington Times analysis of NEA records, more than $1 million of that total came from the stimulus package.”
The Washington Times also has some questions for the Obama Administration at the link, questions that so far remain unanswered.