Americans for the Arts: “Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch and NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman did not meet on August 27 or 28. They did meet earlier in August as chronicled in the informal podcast posted on the Americans for the Arts blog. They didn’t discuss health care.”
The Washington Times: The National Endowment for the Arts has still not confirmed, denied or provided a date for the meeting. Confusion came from the comment of an NEA spokesperson and the fact that Mr. Lynch posted a podcast on Aug. 28 that begins “I am really excited to have just met with Rocco Landesman …”. According to Mr. Lynch, the meeting was on Aug. 12. The Times regrets the error.
The point was never the date of the meeting, but the fact that Mr. Lynch and Mr. Landesman met in close proximity to the Aug. 10 conference call and the Aug. 12 public statement by arts groups. The fact that the meeting was on the Aug. 12 instead of Aug. 28 only makes the point stronger.
The assertion that the meeting did not touch on healthcare strains credulity. Aug. 12 is also the day that Americans for the Arts, led by Mr. Lynch, released its statement backing healthcare reform. It is hard to imagine that the leader of a top arts lobby would meet with the Obama administration’s top art official on the very day the leader’s group was taking a public stand on the Obama administration’s top priority, not mention it in the conversation and then go out and record a podcast about the meeting which does mention healthcare in the context of working with both Congress and the administration.