How? Well, the Public Theater's roster of corporate sponsors includes the New York Times, New York magazine and the Time Warner Foundation. Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.
The Times has supported the theater's Shakespeare in the Park series, which features “Julius Caesar” and “A Midsummer Night's Dream” this season, for 20 years.
New York magazine issued a similar statement on Monday: “As a company that supports free speech and artistic expression, we’re proud to continue our media sponsorship of the Public Theater.”
The Time Warner Foundation does not fund Shakespeare in the Park, but since 2007 has directed its sponsorship money to another Public Theater program — one that supports playwrights, many in the early stages of their careers. The foundation did not respond to a Fix inquiry.
If your view of the press is generally favorable, you probably won't hold these news outlets responsible for the Public Theater's latest production. They were not involved in shaping the plot, you might reason, and why should their philanthropic arms throw away decades of combined support for worthy arts programs over a single scene?
If your view of the press is generally unfavorable, however, you probably see sponsorship of the Public Theater as the latest sign of bias and aggression.
“NYT is sponsoring an assassination depiction of Donald Trump,” blared a headline on the Daily Caller.
John Nolte of the conservative Daily Wire accused CNN of encouraging violence against the president:
For more than a year now I have argued that our national political media is engaged in a not-very-subtle campaign to have candidate/President Trump assassinated, most especially CNN.Only now the dog whistle is gone … it is simply not enough.For every night, thanks in large part to CNN's owners, from a public stage in a major public park, the news that it is both a righteous and patriotic act to assassinate President Trump is blared loudly and clearly.
Matt Drudge on Monday highlighted a positive review of “Julius Caesar” by CNN host Fareed Zakaria and made the Times's and Time Warner's connections to the Public Theater the lead story the Drudge Report.
And on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, host Ainsley Earhardt kept her focus squarely on the media as she discussed the play with Laura Sheaffer, a sales manager at a Christian radio station in New York who attended a recent show.
EARHARDT: Corporate sponsors that just pulled out: Delta and Bank of America. However, New York Times and American Express has not pulled out yet and no telling whether or not they will. What was your reaction to that?SHEAFFER: It makes me sad for Shakespeare in the Park because overall the Public Theater is a great thing. But, yet, at some point, justice needs to happen. Like, this is not okay. And tax dollars are paying for this. Like, it is not okay. So, I mean, I'm glad to see Delta Air Lines pull out. I'm glad to see Bank of America pull out. But, at the same time, I grieve because this shouldn't have happened. Somebody along the way should've realized this is not okay.EARHARDT: Yeah, the bigger picture: What's your reaction to the way the mainstream media is covering this? You have Kathy Griffin holding up the head of a decapitated president with blood. You have Julius Caesar onstage dressed as Donald Trump with blood all over his shirt, and I understand blood splatters all over the stage.