Obama’s Min­istry of Cul­ture and Pro­pa­ganda

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Michelle Malkin

Im­me­di­ately af­ter Pres­i­dent Obama took of­fice, his Hol­ly­wood bene­fac­tors clam­ored for the cre­ation of a “Sec­re­tary of Cul­ture.” Tin­sel­town was dis­ap­pointed with the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s crony arts czar choice (Chicago lawyer Kareem Dale), but left­wing artists and en­ter­tain­ers have now been mol­li­fied.

In­stead of one gov­ern­mentsup­ported arts czar, the White House has des­ig­nated an en­tire herd of them.

On July 19, as part of Obama’s “Win­ning the Fu­ture” ini­tia­tive, the pres­i­dent des­ig­nated mem­bers of the lib­eral ac­tivist group Cre­ative Coali­tion as of­fi­cial “Amer­ica’s Cham­pi­ons of Change for the Arts.”

This is the lat­est in a se­ries of “pub­lic en­gage­ment” ef­forts over­seen by Obama se­nior ad­viser Va­lerie Jar­rett and her high-paid, tax-funded staff of thinly veiled cam­paign work­ers op­er­at­ing out of 1600 Penn­syl­va­nia Ave.

Hon­ored guests at the event in­cluded ar­dent Obama sup­port­ers and Hol­ly­wood stars such as Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette, Omar Epps, Min­nie Driver and Rachael Leigh Cook. Cre­ative Coali­tion CEO Robin Bronk crowed in a p.r. re­lease: “Rarely be­fore in the his­tory of our coun­try has change been more im­por­tant, so we are proud to be rec­og­nized as a ‘Cham­pion of Change.’ By shar­ing our ideas on the arts and arts ed­u­ca­tion with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, we can en­sure the next gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­cans have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­press their creativ­ity.”

Ig­nore the high-minded talk of artis­tic free speech. This is noth­ing more than a Celebrity Re­wards Pro­gram mas­querad­ing as cul­tural “di­a­logue” (or, more ac­cu­rately, echo cham­ber chat­ter).

When the Cre­ative Coali­tion, com­prised of some of the en­ter­tain­ment world’s most zeal­ous and wealthy Obama donors, talks of the need to “make the arts a topic of pri­or­ity,” it means mas­sively in­creased fund­ing for the Na­tional En­dow­ment of the Arts and Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts. It means us­ing the power of gov­ern­ment to turn artists and en­ter­tain­ers into Obama pol­icy lob­by­ists. And it means buy­ing ac­cess not for “or­di­nary Amer­i­cans,” but for the out-of-touch elit­ists who use all pub­lic chan­nels and plat­forms to den­i­grate tra­di­tional val­ues and prin­ci­ples.

The Cre­ative Coali­tion is the group that threw the swanki­est in­au­gu­ral par­ties for Obama, stud­ded with pro­duc­ers, ac­tors, direc­tors and writers. The Cre­ative Coali­tion/Obama galas in­cluded a lav­ish in­au­gu­ral party spon­sored by Moet & Chan­don, which passed out big fat bot­tles of pricey wine sport­ing cus­tom­ized “Obama is the Man” la­bels.

(Quick, some­one alert that crazy Rut­gers pro­fes­sor who at­tacked GOP Rep. Paul Ryan over his bev­er­age choices.) They clam­ored for $50 mil­lion in stim­u­lus pork and still want more.

Amer­ica doesn’t need ide­o­log­i­cally skewed keep­ers of the cul­ture in gov­ern­mentsanc­tioned po­si­tions es­pous­ing what’s best for read­ers’, view­ers’ and lis­ten­ers’ con­sump­tion, and us­ing tax dol­lars to shape our tastes and pol­i­tics. The best way for this White House to stim­u­late free, un­fet­tered con­ver­sa­tion about the arts is to butt out of it.

Mem­bers of the Cre­ative Coali­tion were also en­tan­gled in the 2009 NEA/White House cam­paign to re­cruit 75 artists, mu­si­cians, writers and poets as po­lit­i­cal “counter-nar­ra­tive” cre­ators dur­ing the health care takeover battle. Then-Of­fice of Pub­lic En­gage­ment top of­fi­cials Tina Tchen and Buffy Wicks urged par­tic­i­pants to “sus­tain en­ergy from the elec­tion process” and “think through how their net­works and or­ga­ni­za­tions can par­tic­i­pate in ar­eas such as the arts in ed­u­ca­tion, health care and pre­ven­ta­tive care, en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment, or eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity.”

In other words: Not art for art’s sake. But art for Obama’s sake.

The White House and its “Cham­pi­ons of Change for the Arts” are flirt­ing dan­ger­ously with an Or­wellian-style Min­istry of Arts Ag­it­prop akin to Europe’s and China’s. Amer­ica doesn’t need ide­o­log­i­cally skewed keep­ers of the cul­ture in gov­ern­ment-sanc­tioned po­si­tions es­pous­ing what’s best for read­ers’, view­ers’ and lis­ten­ers’ con­sump­tion, and us­ing tax dol­lars to shape our tastes and pol­i­tics. The best way for this White House to stim­u­late free, un­fet­tered con­ver­sa­tion about the arts is to butt out of it.

Michelle Malkin is the au­thor of “Cul­ture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Reg­n­ery 2010).

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