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The White House, the National Endowment for the Arts, and more do-it-yourself vetting; Updated: NEA, you lie!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 21, 2009 08:59 AM

Last month, Big Hollywood’s Patrick Courrielche broke news on how the NEA was rustling up artists to help “serve” the White House political agenda.

Big Government’s Mike Flynn and John Nolte have a follow-up here.

(Updated: Courrielche has posted audio from the call contradicting the NEA’s spin here.)

And the Washington Times — which reported earlier this month 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” — today reveals a partial list of “artists and influencers” on the NEA’s August conference call. One of the participants? Al Gore’s Current TV.

Here’s where you come in.

The Times is crowd-sourcing its investigation and wants you to help do the reporting the rest of the MSM won’t do (another example of do-it-yourself vetting!). The Times has posted Excel spreadsheet data of some of the call participants.

We invite bloggers and other interested readers to check out the names on the list for themselves. Some individuals are more well known than others. We’re looking for solid, well-sourced information we can use to expand our coverage and generate new stories. This is an example. Here are some ideas on what to start with:

Is the information about them accurate/up to date?

Have these individuals been involved in Democratic politics?

Are they campaign donors? To whom?

Since the Aug. 10 conference call, have any of these individuals been involved in political activism related to health care, environment or education, the subjects suggested by the NEA in the call?

Are they members of any of the 21 arts organizations that endorsed health care reform two days after the call?

Are any of them involved in other arts groups funded through the NEA or through state-level arts agencies funded by the NEA?

Do they have a history of being involved with dubious causes such as 9/11 “Truther” statements?

How many of them have written for The Huffington Post (we’ve noticed a couple)?

When you’ve got something good, stick links to the supporting information in our comments or a post on your blog or email us at kpicket@washingtontimes.com . We’ll do our best to stay on top of any new information and credit the person who dug it up.

A couple quick things to keep in mind. We’ve already attempted to contact the people on the list, so there is no need to follow in our footsteps. As they respond, we’ll add an updated tally in another post on the Water Cooler. Second, the people on the list are private citizens who were asked to be on a call where a National Endowment for the Arts official went way too far in pushing for artists and arts groups to get behind the administration agenda. The people on the call didn’t neccesarily do anything controversial or wrong. The NEA and the White House are the ones who have gone too far.

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Another excellent resource: The NEA Wiki page from Media Mythbusters. Check often for updates.

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