Green Room

The Art of Agitprop*

posted at 8:31 am on September 22, 2009 by

As I was reading the transcript of the now-infamous conference call between government officials and various artists, something occurred to me.

Mike Skolnick, the artist asked by the White House to coordinate the effort said in his view, part of the group’s task was “to support some of the president’s initiatives, but also to do things that we are passionate about and to push the president and push his administration.”

What’s interesting is that not a single government official on the call corrected him, or objected to his statement. It’s almost as though the president’s ‘I won/anything goes’ rhetoric has trickled down to his staff.

As Andrew Klavan points out, there are limits, and not just legal ones.

*h/t to Mere Rhetoric for suggesting a better word than propaganda.

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Mix the NEA plan to develop a cadre of artists that design campaigns designed to target specific groups within the population (e.g. college students, workers) with Cass Sunstein’s interest in using “nudging” tactics to manipulate people to act in ways contrary to their intentions and toss in federal funding to be provided by a House bill for research in determining what specific “nudging” tactics would work best on voters and voila! You’ve got yourself a Propaganda Ministry funded by tax dollars. I can’t see how anything bad can come from that!

in_awe on September 22, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Agit-prop is precisely what it is.

steveegg on September 22, 2009 at 11:48 AM


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