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Crying wolf 

Those who care about the state of things when it comes to the arts and alternative culture(s) in the USA tend to react with concern at the mere idea of federal, state or local budget cuts to arts agencies and projects. The destruction (whether actualized or intended) by the Reagan administration when it came to the National Endowment for the Arts, for instance, jolted the minds of artists, musicians, writers, educators, museum workers et al like alarm bells that still produce a Pavlovian effect.

So it is that the most well-meaning among us have been taken for a ride by a bogus call to action that’s been making the e-mail rounds for years. It reads, in part, as follows:

On NPR’s Morning Edition last week, Nina Tottenberg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of the National Public Radio (NPR), NEA & the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). PBS, NPR and the arts are facing major cutbacks in funding. … The only way that our representatives can be aware of the base of support for PBS and funding for these types of programs is by making our voices heard. Please add your name to this list and forward it to friends who believe in what this stands for.

This total waste of time has involved countless well-meaning folks (Nina Tottenberg has somehow been saying the same thing “on NPR’s Morning Edition last week” for years). For the real story on the spurious NPR-NEA petition, check out and let’s get busy on some real issues. Enough already.

(Read our Web exclusive story with more details on this topic.)

The Hot & the Bothered was written and edited by George Tysh. E-mail him at

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