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Thursday, February 1, 2018
MRC Pushes Bogus Attack on 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' Production
Topic: Media Research Center

Apropos of apparently nothing, the Media Research Center published a curiously worded Jan. 23 press release:

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell delivered remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday calling on the National Endowment of the Arts to withdraw its funding of the "gleefully profane" Jerry Springer: The Opera in New York City. He issued the following statement at the conclusion of the press conference:

“The NEA must withdraw its funding of the wildly anti-Christian, especially anti-Catholic, hate-filled production entitled Jerry Springer: The Opera. As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has pointed out, this so-called ‘opera’ receives the majority of its funding from public sources, including the NEA. This is an outrage which must end.

[...]

The play is ugly, unadulterated hate. The current tenure of the NEA chair ends in April and President Trump must appoint a new chairman who will once and for all put an end to taxpayer funding for anti-Christian ‘art’ such as this piece of garbage.”

You have to follow the embedded link to fingure out what, exactly, Bozell is so worked up about. It's a production of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" put on by a theater company called The New Group.

Bozell's mention of Donohue obscures the fact that this whole kerfuffle is spearheaded by Donohue and his right-wing Catholic League. Bozell fails to disclose that he's a member of the Catholic League's board of advisers, which would seem to be important and relevant.

Beyond that, however, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Donohue is attacking the musical and its producers because, according to his own press release, "the New Group receives most of its funding from public sources, led by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)." But he doesn't identify exactly how much funding its gets from the NEA, nor does he identify whether any of that NEA funding went toward this production.

Donohue has since been trying to milk this evidence-free story -- with the MRC's help, of course. Donohue sent a letter to President Trump about it, but again he offered no proof to back up his claim, vaguely stating only that "The New Group is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts."

A Jan. 25 CNSNews.com blog post by Craig Bannister regurgitates another letter Donohue sent to a House committee claiming "potential guideline violations by the NEA." This is all Donohue has to offer:

The nexus between NEA and the New Group is more than disturbing: it is so incestuous that it is in violation of NEA’s own strictures. In 2009, the NEA gave the New Group $50,000, "To support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn." Yet under NEA guidelines, "General operating or seasonal support" is explicitly prohibited.

That's apparently the only "evidence" Donohue has -- a small donation nearly a decade ago that has nothing whatsoever to do with the group's current production. That's the opposite of "incestuous."

But the MRC will never admit that emperor Donohue has no clothes here -- he's just a hateful old man with some money to throw around to push his right-wing agenda and a few friends in the media (and on his board) who will help him spread his bogus claims.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2018 1:16 AM EST

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