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Did Robert Townsend Hoodwink Congress? Using Federal Money To Produce Online Soap Opera ‘Diary of a Single Mom’ [VIDEO]

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You may not have seen the show “Diary of a Single Mom” co-starring Monica Calhoun and Billy Dee Williams, but your tax dollars helped pay for it.

Through the federal economic stimulus program, a company owned by actor-director Robert Townsend was paid more than $230,000 to produce and direct the Web-based show, records show. Other production costs on the show paid to different vendors total more than $700,000.

The money came through an award by the Department of Commerce to One Economy Corp. for more than $28 million last year to help boost broadband Internet service in underserved areas across the country.

One Economy is using more than $1.5 million of that money to create programming such as “Diary of a Single Mom,” which the group says will help provide an incentive for people to connect to the Internet.

But taxpayer watchdogs say the government doesn’t belong in show business.

“The point of broadband was to create access and create the infrastructure for communities that do not have access,” said Ryan Alexander, president of the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Creating content wouldn’t be what people in Congress thought of when voting on this.”

Even if the show is well-liked and delivers a good message, she said, the question is whether it could have happened without stimulus money. “Certainly, Robert Townsend is successful,” Ms. Alexander said. “Not that successful people shouldn’t be working; they should be. But they have access to capital.”


Check out more episodes of Robert Townsend’s Diary of a Single Mother on Pic.tv.

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7 Comment

  1. Robert Townsend is a good man, doing good things in “our black world” please do not criticize him. THANK YOU.

  2. it’s a shame Congress doesn’t know its past history of funding show business ventures. Mr. Townsend, nor Congress, is setting any precedent with financing a creative venture. Isn’t that the point of the whole USO program? Additionally, this effort pales in comparison to the case of Walt Disney. During World War II, the US government funded a production “mission” for Disney to travel South America during World War II as an unofficial ambassador. He took a few dozen of his best people and traveled to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile for cultural meetings with fellow artists o the continent. Several classic Disney movie shorts, Fantasia, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were the direct result of the trip and the government’s funding. Walt profited at a time when his studio really needed the boost, essentially saving Disney Studios and the magic to come.

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