So Long, NEA — It’s a Matter of Principle

This is not about my hometown newspaper but about America.

The Los Angeles Times is a metaphor for the hysterical reaction to the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Friday’s front page included a photo of a young girl playing the violin, as the newspaper offered this subhead: “The NEA works; why does president want to destroy it?” What appeared to be front-page news was in fact an opinion column by Christopher Knight, the newspaper’s art critic, surely a disinterested observer.

The same day’s business section headlined “Budget plan could slow economic growth” over a photograph of NEA-funded art. The Calendar section’s headline was “A harsh note — Arts programs big and small across California would suffer” below photos of dance, opera, theater, classical musicians, and, yes, youthful violinists.