Another direct link to White House on NEA propaganda scandal

posted at 8:50 am on October 31, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Kalpen Modi, the star of the Harold and Kumar Go To movies and the TV series House, made a big splash when he put aside his Hollywood career to take a White House position as “director of public engagement,” which everyone assumed would be more or less a liaison to Hollywood as an adjunct social secretary.  Unfortunately for Modi, he apparently didn’t stick to those duties.  According to new documents released as part of a FOIA request, Modi helped plan the notorious NEA call conducted by Yosi Sergant that attempted to link NEA grants with support for the Obama agenda, another direct link to the White House in the scandal:

Former actor and present White House associate director of public engagement Kalpen Modi was directly involved in planning the controversial conference call hosted by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) flack to encourage tax-supported artists to create propaganda for President Obama, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The emails reveal that Modi worked with now-former NEA national communications director Yosif Sargant in planning the August 10 conference call that was first revealed by Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood.com web site. Participants in the conference call were encouraged to use their talents to generate public support for the Obama agenda in Congress.

Mark Tapscott and Jammie Wearing Fool highlight some of the e-mails between Modi and Sergant, showing the close participation of the White House in the propaganda effort:

–August 10, 2009, 10:23 am: Email from Yosi Sergant to Kalpen Modi: “[The call is] organized by me…I’d ask you to come on and give the exact spiel you gave on Saturday. Walk them through the WH Arts Policy. They won’t know it. Then I will take them into United We Serve and the NEA.”

–August 10, 2009, 10:29 am: Email from Kalpen Modi to Yosi Sergant: “Oy. This would be awesome to be a part of. Let me know if you think it’s going long, or maybe I can get someone from here to do it if I can’t because of the Social Security mtg.”

–August 10, 2009, 11:04 am: Email from Kalpen Modi to Yosi Sergant: “Let me see if we can move Social Sec by a few mins. Agreed, it would be great to be on the call and helpful for us also.”

–August 10, 2009, 1:37 pm: Email from Yosi Sergant to Buffy Wicks, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement: “We have an important call at 2pm for UWS (United We Serve) and the Arts with my peeps. Indie producers around the country. Kal can’t join the call. Any chance you can hop on for 5 minutes and intro with Nellie and I?”

We had already known of the involvement of Buffy Wicks, who was the first White House staffer implicated in the attempt to use taxpayer money to create propaganda for Barack Obama in the arts community.  This shows that Wicks’ involvement was a last-minute change in the program.  Wicks works for Modi, who helped stage the call but couldn’t join because of a scheduling conflict.  This moves the White House involvement up the ladder a bit.

Will the national media take an interest in this story now that it involves a former Hollywood star?  Probably not.  This is the same media, after all, that took no interest in the Clinton administration railroading its Travel Office employees with false criminal charges, or in getting hundreds of raw-data FBI files on their political opponents.  Having this White House use NEA grants to turn recipients into low-rent Leni Riefenstahls probably won’t generate much interest.  If we only had a real Congress to look after the use of taxpayer money by this administration, then we might have something … (via Instapundit)


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

You know, every time I start to get a little down about the state of affairs in Washington, I look at the rank amateurs that Obambi surrounds himself with and feel a lot better.

If we manage to take control of congress in 2010 the investigations are going to be great entertainment thru 2011 and 2012.

conservnut on October 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM

I’d get more excited about this, but we’re talking Art people. No one really cares or gives serious thought to something a guy or gal does because they can’t find gainful employment doing something real for a living.

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Looking forward to Congressional investigations in 2011

faraway on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Glad he wasn’t my doctor. Sheesh.

jackmac on October 31, 2009 at 9:04 AM

A tiny bit of bad reporting here. They don’t mention the guy’s stage name (Kal Penn) which, you would think, might be useful to know.

YYZ on October 31, 2009 at 9:04 AM

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Indoctrination and propaganda. If you don’t get exctied now, you may not get the chance later.

publiuspen on October 31, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Wait, what? Modi is a Hollywood star? eesh

The bottom line is that no one in the media will care since they are in the tank for Obama. Talk to any liberal and they won’t care about this dangerous tactic since they agree with the end purpose.

Funny how all these liberals were chanting about patriotic dissent and not blindly following our leaders when Bush was in office. But now . . .

postaldog on October 31, 2009 at 9:05 AM

excited

(preview is disabled as are my fingers)

publiuspen on October 31, 2009 at 9:06 AM

Their last line of Defense will be Al Gore’s “There was controlling legal authority.”

rob verdi on October 31, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Indoctrination and propaganda. If you don’t get exctied now, you may not get the chance later.

publiuspen on October 31, 2009 at 9:05 AM

I’d agree but they’re indoctrinating our kids now every day in schools, by teachers, NOT artists.

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Mornin’ Jeff. I call them artsy fartsy because they like their whine.

yoda on October 31, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Same thing. Using art to re-educate the masses. Think Hope poster. A cultural phenom.

publiuspen on October 31, 2009 at 9:11 AM

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Mornin’ Jeff. I call them artsy fartsy because they like their whine.

yoda on October 31, 2009 at 9:09 AM

lol..good morning…I call them lazy, shiftless people who can’t do anything of real value.

Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Looking forward to Congressional investigations in 2011

faraway on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

Now that’s real hope and change. Just prayin’.

Christian Conservative on October 31, 2009 at 9:12 AM

I thought you ‘real americans’ liked crappy actors? I remember a GREAT communicator (when not napping) that rose to fame in movies next to a monkey.

simplesimon on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

simplesimon on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

Now that President Obama is in charge, your side is the ‘real americans’. Rep. Teacups Grayson said so.

BadgerHawk on October 31, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Kind of a “yeah, so?” moment. Low level appointees do stupid stuff in early days of the administration, get exposed, stop doing it. I mean, one conference call? Yes, it’s bad. Now it’s stopped. Good job.

But now you’re milking it.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:22 AM

Now it’s stopped.

Is it? In the most transparent admin ever?

publiuspen on October 31, 2009 at 9:28 AM

Riefenstahl is another favorite to Dunn the Maoist.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:31 AM

Kind of a “yeah, so?” moment. Low level appointees do stupid stuff in early days of the administration, get exposed, stop doing it. I mean, one conference call? Yes, it’s bad. Now it’s stopped. Good job.

But now you’re milking it.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:22 AM

Water-gate anyone.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:32 AM

Like anyone in the lapdog media will give a damn.

drjohn on October 31, 2009 at 9:33 AM

Like anyone in the lapdog media will give a damn.

drjohn on October 31, 2009 at 9:33 AM

They do , but not in the way you want them to. It’s operation snow-job going on.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:37 AM

Water-gate anyone.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:32 AM

I think not.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Related:
Arts agencies to get highest funding in 16 years

Quisp on October 31, 2009 at 9:47 AM

I think not.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:42 AM

I know you dont think.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:49 AM

You know, at least Leni Riefenstahl was a talented film maker. These other shmoes? Not so much.

One might wonder how the Obamameister could surround himself with such rank amateurs, until you remember that he couldn’t be bothered to fill out a single term in the Senate.

All they need is a striped tent and they’ll have a complete circus.

AW1 Tim on October 31, 2009 at 10:01 AM

Kind of a “yeah, so?” moment. Low level appointees do stupid stuff in early days of the administration, get exposed, stop doing it. I mean, one conference call? Yes, it’s bad. Now it’s stopped. Good job.

But now you’re milking it.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:22 AM

Well now that you’ve excused yet another incident of WH corruption, tell us all about how BO is restoring the Constitution.

Monica on October 31, 2009 at 10:10 AM

I think not.

Bleeds Blue343 on October 31, 2009 at 9:42 AM

First intelligent thing you’ve said all month. Speaking of which, you really got your getalife handed to you in that Dover Air Force Base thread yesterday.

Del Dolemonte on October 31, 2009 at 10:11 AM

I thought you ‘real americans’ liked crappy actors? I remember a GREAT communicator (when not napping) that rose to fame in movies next to a monkey.

simple 343 on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

I remember a great actor who was a far Leftist. Name of Paul Newman.

Paul was also a major race fan, in fact he was one of the leading team owners on the race car circuit.

Del Dolemonte on October 31, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Comrade 0bama

OmahaConservative on October 31, 2009 at 10:15 AM

I thought you ‘real americans’ liked crappy actors? I remember a GREAT communicator (when not napping) that rose to fame in movies next to a monkey.

simplesimon on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

I usually don’t respond to trolls, but this one is just too freaking funny and weak.

Our “crappy actor” at least had a long and successful carer as first, leader of the actors union, political commentator, Gov. of a state (the most successful one in the history of that state with regard to fiscal responsibility I might add) And then followed it up with bringing a grand period of economic prosperity and American pride to the forefront on the heels of the most catastrophic period of doom and gloom in my lifetime.

Your guy, played a stoner in a film.

Great comparison asshat. You trolls crack me up sometimes with your weak bomb throwing.

conservnut on October 31, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Water-gate anyone.

the_nile on October 31, 2009 at 9:32 AM

This is much, much worse.

YYZ on October 31, 2009 at 10:18 AM

if I can’t because of the Social Security mtg.

OK, does anyone else think it’s strange/scary that an actor is sitting in on some Social Security meeting???

Keith_Indy on October 31, 2009 at 10:24 AM

Harold and Kumar in Triumph of the Hopenchangen

Caper29 on October 31, 2009 at 10:34 AM

I think not.

Bleeds Blue on October 31, 2009 at 9:42 AM

—sticking index fingers into ears while chanting I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you—-

Caper29 on October 31, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Well if this White House had any integrity, Kumar would be shown the door. But this is the most corrupt administration and Congress(and press for that matter) I’ve ever seen, so I’m sure they’ll attempt to ignore it.

Doughboy on October 31, 2009 at 10:39 AM

If we manage to take control of congress in 2010 the investigations are going to be great entertainment thru 2011 and 2012.

conservnut on October 31, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Ya Ya what he said thats the ticket!Entertainment 2011 thats the ticket!

tim c on October 31, 2009 at 10:42 AM

I don’t know about you but it’s a little creepy to see how Barry gets’ in peoples (guys) spaces.

Go back and look at the picture.

Or this…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGzqSY9sb8M

It must just be me…..just seemed a little creepy.

PappyD61 on October 31, 2009 at 10:45 AM

High Crimes and misdemeanors part One. Bozo regime’s shameless attempt to foist communist propaganda on the masses.

Uncle Joe would be proud!

dogsoldier on October 31, 2009 at 10:46 AM

Looking forward to Congressional investigations in 2011

faraway on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

YEAH BABY!

royzer on October 31, 2009 at 10:47 AM

I’d get more excited about this, but we’re talking Art people. No one really cares or gives serious thought to something a guy or gal does because they can’t find gainful employment doing something real for a living.
Jeff from WI on October 31, 2009 at 9:01 AM

I can’t remember who said it, though I want to say it was Plato…anyway, it was something to the effect of, if you want to change hearts and minds, you don’t go into politics, you go into the arts.

Books, movies, images/paintings,prints,etc, and music are incredibly influential. That’s why you hear a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s true.

I went to a screening of the movie Bella where the star was present and spoke about what moved him to leave the immoral lifestyle of a ‘star’ and start making morally sound and values based works. It was that idea I’m attributing to Plato. He felt that he was contributing to the decline of society and wanted to try to turn that around. The Arts are one of the most powerful things in a society. Don’t kid yourself into thinking they aren’t important.

pannw on October 31, 2009 at 11:10 AM

“Any chance you can hop on for 5 minutes and intro with Nellie and I?”

Apparently the “intelligentsia” doesn’t quite have a grasp of basic English grammar… not surprising.

D2Boston on October 31, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Yosi and Kumar go to Leavenworth.

Rocks on October 31, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Looks like he’s really headed to Guantanamo Bay…

Orange Doorhinge on October 31, 2009 at 11:32 AM

Am I a screwed up Godwinist if I take this opportunity to point out that Hitler was also a self-centered ego maniac who believed art played a role in his propaganda?

HondaV65 on October 31, 2009 at 12:15 PM

White Castle iz da shizz when y0 bangin’ y0

/hated “Harold & Kumar”

Ugly on October 31, 2009 at 12:19 PM

I don’t know about you but it’s a little creepy to see how

Barry gets’ in peoples (guys) spaces.

Go back and look at the picture.

Or this…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGzqSY9sb8M

It must just be me…..just seemed a little creepy.

PappyD61 on October 31, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Apparently he’s a “close talker”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlRjftIWEMA

Fed45 on October 31, 2009 at 12:33 PM

damnit! Screwed up the quoting..

Fed45 on October 31, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Am I a screwed up Godwinist if I take this opportunity to point out that Hitler was also a self-centered ego maniac who believed art played a role in his propaganda?

HondaV65 on October 31, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Not at all. Remember the film Goebbels made?

dogsoldier on October 31, 2009 at 12:54 PM

I suspect Beck will be good on Monday.

RightWinged on October 31, 2009 at 1:11 PM

“I’d get more excited about this, but we’re talking Art people. No one really cares or gives serious thought to something a guy or gal does because they can’t find gainful employment doing something real for a living.”

I take very seriously the idea of an illegal tax payer funded propaganda machine to popularize the Hussein agenda. I take it seriously that community organizers stole the nomination from Clinton who won every primary, while Hussein only “won” caucuses, by having ACORN thugs crowd out Clinton supports.

You don’t take organized crime seriously? You don’t think having the best friend of the SEIU and ACORN in the White House is dangerous?

LA Conservative on October 31, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Triumph of The Wimp.

Michelle Dubois on October 31, 2009 at 1:34 PM

I thought you ‘real americans’ liked crappy actors? I remember a GREAT communicator (when not napping) that rose to fame in movies next to a monkey.

simple 343 on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

I remember a great actor who was a far Leftist. Name of Paul Newman.

Paul was also a major race fan, in fact he was one of the leading team owners on the race car circuit.

Del Dolemonte on October 31, 2009 at 10:13 AM

BTW, Deb, Newman died earlier this year, but the racing team still bears his name.

http://www.newman-haas.com/

Looking at the completed 2009 schedule, far Leftist Newman’s team had a car in the Indianapolis 500, as well as 2 races in Democrat California. They also had a car race in Watkins Glen in the Blue state of New York, and a team at the race held in O’bama’s home city of Chicago.

Del Dolemonte on October 31, 2009 at 1:47 PM

I think when the GOP retakes things they ought to abolish the NEA entirely.

And NPR too.

Call it necessary budget cuts to protect other entitlements.

Let’s ace the Department of Education too.

HondaV65 on October 31, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I think when the GOP retakes things they ought to abolish the NEA entirely. And NPR too. Call it necessary budget cuts to protect other entitlements. Let’s ace the Department of Education too. HondaV65 on October 31, 2009 at 2:41 PM

Hear hear! If Dora the Explorer can make it on her own why the hell is Big Bird still living in the attic? Time for Big Bird and all his moocher friends to strike out on their own and make something of their lives.

Mojave Mark on October 31, 2009 at 3:03 PM

I thought you ‘real americans’ liked crappy actors? I remember a GREAT communicator (when not napping) that rose to fame in movies next to a monkey.

simplesimon on October 31, 2009 at 9:16 AM

As a matter of common courtesy, shouldn’t you precede your comment by “OT”? I’m still trying to discern its relevance.

Meanwhile, on the subject of the post, from one of the quoted e-mails:

Walk them through the WH Arts Policy.

Can someone explain to me why in the h*ll the White House has an arts policy?

BuckeyeSam on October 31, 2009 at 3:44 PM

I used to like Kalpen in Harold and Kumar. Damn shame he turned out to be an Obama stooge. Nothing to worry on part of Dear Leader who can just throw him under the bus without any scruples and deny his role in the entire thing. Still, Kal Pen should be ashamed of himself. Has he not read about the “seperation of powers” or have a smidgen of common sense left? Tsk Tsk. Bye Bye Kal. You gave up that sweet gig in House and a lifetime of playing a stoner in Hollywood for going under the bus. Wright says “hi”.

nyx on October 31, 2009 at 4:19 PM

I used to like Kalpen in Harold and Kumar. Damn shame he turned out to be an Obama stooge.

Unfortunately, I could substitute most of my favorite actors, singers, and other entertainers for “Kalpen” in your statement.

I have a difficult time watching any current entertainment because I can no longer separate the political statements and viewpoints from the performances.

Greyledge Gal on October 31, 2009 at 6:04 PM

He also played a terrorist on 24. Yet, despite the fact that he’s not a real one, he got a job with Obama.

Jim Treacher on October 31, 2009 at 6:31 PM