Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Obama Propaganda Machine

In his article entitled “The Artist Formerly Known as Dissent”, Patrick Courrielche wrote of his growing discomfort with the role that artists are playing under the Obama administration. He warns: “the art community is not meeting its duty of always questioning those in power. And I say duty because the art community, as a counterpart of the press, has been given special rights written into the Bill of Rights, known broadly as freedom of the press, for the explicit purpose of keeping power in check.”

He continues: “Throughout modern history, art typically enters politics on a mass scale in two fashions: first, as a check on power; second, as a tool used by those in power.”

Courrielche then examines the hysterical and furious response to the only artistic challenge laid against the Obama administration—the infamous image of Obama as the Joker from the Batman series—and responds to the attacks on the anonymous creator. “Can you blame the artist for wanting to remain anonymous given the irrational and racially-charged criticism the poster has received?”

He ends his article with a brilliant admonition to the artists who continue to produce art celebrating Obama, rather than applying their talent to question “the ruling class”:

“It's time for the art community to return to its historical role in political affairs, which means speaking to power, not on behalf of it. Which leads me to the second case where art enters politics on a mass scale. The power of art, in combination with the suppression of free speech or a free press, has been used as a tool by authoritarian governments to control their citizens. From Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, art has been used to deify leaders while preserving the position of the ruling class. Most artists would not want to be referred to as tools of the state, but in the case of Obama's administration, that's exactly what they've been so far.”

Courrielche’s article, it turns out, was both timely and insightful, for reasons I shall explore in a moment. But before I do, and because Courrielche mentioned him in his article, I’d like to quote der Furer’s philosophy on propaganda, as stated in Mein Kampf.

"Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. (...) The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas.”

Courrielche has initiated what I hope will become a national dialog among American artists about their roles either as a “counterpart of the press” in defending democracy and our Liberty. But I fear that today’s artists—just like most of their counterparts in the mass media—have gleefully surrendered their independence from the current administration. The situation is growing so dire I dare say that it appears that McCarthy was right; Hollywood truly has become a socialist propaganda machine!

Consider the new film by Michael Moore, “Capitalism: A Love Story”, in which Moore “sums up his disgust with corporate America and its devastating effect on the lives of ordinary people…Ending on the notes of the ‘Internationale’ as Moore theatrically encircles New York banks with crime scene tape, the film launches a call for socialism via a popular uprising against the evils of capitalism and free enterprise.”

In keeping with Hitler’s advice for creating quality propaganda, Moore does not try to simply show a number of failures in order to fix capitalism. No, he creates a one-sided, emotionally charged piece intended to encourage the abandonment of capitalism and implementation of socialism, employing a nearly cartoonish montage of images to drive home his propagandistic point:

“Simplifications are Moore's stock-in-trade, and his documentaries are not known for their impeccable research and objectivity. But here his talent is evident in creating two hours of engrossing cinema by contrasting a fast-moving montage of 50s archive images extolling free enterprise with the economic disaster of the present.” And as you might expect of a Nazi propaganda piece, it would not be acceptable to criticize the Führer: “Though it blames all political parties, including the Democrats, for caving in with the bailout, the film is careful to spare President Barack Obama, who remains a symbol of hope for justice.”

Lest you think this is an isolated case, Moore is not the only Hollywood film-maker producing socialist propaganda: Now we find out that Oliver Stone has just completed his new film (“South of the Border”) that glorifies Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Like all the great socialists before him, Chavez is a student of history and has always directed a well-oiled propaganda machine employing the best liberal artists he can find in Venezuela. This propaganda machine has had two major intents: 1) to create the appearance within Venezuela that he is a man of the people waging a tireless struggle against the evil forces of capitalism and “the Empire” (AKA: the USA), and 2) to counter growing international concern that he has supplanted Venezuelan democracy with totalitarian rule.

To this end, Chavez has carefully orchestrated a number of events to present himself to the world as a great champion of human rights, defender of the environment, and a soldier for the people. His ultimate goal has been to win the Nobel Peace Prize, for which his loyal followers have nominated him. Stone has apparently bought into this hook, line and sinker. “If you look now, there are seven presidents, eight countries with Chile, that are really moving away from the Washington consensus control. But in America, they don't get that story." When asked if he had tried to portray a realistic view of events in Venezuela, including Chavez’s “dark side”, Stone responded: "A dark side? There's a dark side to everything. Why do you seek out the dark side when the guy is doing good things? …He is a democrat and there is opposition to him, and he's not perfect. But he is doing tremendous things for Venezuela and the region… He's not a dictator."

One must wonder why Stone failed to mention that the Chavez regime recently shut down over 40 radio stations that broadcast opposition perspectives to his policies, and this week his ministers warned they were about to close another thirty. Would Stone have overlooked similar excesses from the Bush administration?

Film-makers are not the only artists who are openly propagandizing for socialism. And in a new and deeply disturbing revelation, the Obama administration may actually be conspiring to convert the National Endowment for the Arts into an unofficial propaganda bureau.
For our good friend Patrick Courrielche has written another article in which he warns that the NEA is reaching out to the art community to create art that supports the Obama agenda. Courrielche reports:

“I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries ‘to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.’”

“Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were ‘health care’ and ‘energy and environment.’ The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans. “
Courrielche intuitively and quite accurately senses the moral (and probably legal) conflict of interest: “In my view, power tends to overreach whenever given the opportunity. It’s a law of human nature that has very few exceptions. …Could the National Endowment for the Arts be looking to the art community to create an environment amenable to the administration’s positions?”

He reports that during the call, there was much talk about “‘leveraging federal dollars’ to get artists and cultural organizations involved in social-service projects.”

If this is true, then the Obama administration appears to be secretly re-writing the NEA’s mission statement, redirecting its purpose from supporting the arts to instead supporting his personal political agenda! What’s more, it’s a covert method of directing federal dollars into a propaganda effort without asking for or receiving permission from the Congress.

We must issue a Clarion Call to the citizens.

Not only did the socialist threat not die off with the collapse of the Berlin Wall; it is back, in a more dangerous and insidious form than ever. Our national media and our art community are conspiring with socialist politicians to destroy America’s capitalist economy and undermine the constitution. They are using our own tax dollars against us as they unleash new weapons to beguile and confound us. And just as Oliver Stone said, why should we consider the “dark side” to their methods, when they intend to “do good things”?

The ends justify the means.

Wake up, America!

Blogger Ben Smith reports that the NEA communications director has had to resign after issuing the communication that the NEA would help redirect federal dollars to artists so they would "work to further President Obama's legislative agenda."

Smith adds that "Huffington Post's Ryan Grim reported that Sergant had been "asked to resign," and played it as another scalp -- like Van Jones' -- for Glenn Beck." Additionally, "Senator John Cornyn had also pressed the White House on the issue in a letter Tuesday."

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