“Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker and friend of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, is taking over as head of the Agency for Global Media after the Senate finally succumbed to White House pressure to confirm him. The Voice of America’s top two editors ― both veteran journalists appointed during the Obama administration ― resigned on Monday, citing Pack’s arrival.”
From Pop Cramps:
I first heard the VOA– Voice of America– when I was about ten years old. My grand aunt’s classic 1940’s Philco console radio, a beautiful 4-foot tall piece, featured an am radio band and shortwave radio band. The Voice of America was the sole beacon of freedom that could be heard around the globe by those suffering under the foot of oppression. Shortwave radio allowed this. Unlike AM radio, which had a short range of listening reach, short wave had a long reach for reasons I never understood. It was called “short”, wasn’t it? At first I thought VOA was based in Zarephath, New Jersey, since its call letters were “WBOU, Zarephath”. It shared the station with AFRS, the Armed Forces Radio Service, which broadcast baseball games, rock and roll, and replays of old comedy radio shows to the troops. (AFRS finally did discover television, by the way.)
VOA began during wartime in the 1940’s to update people in war zones as to the true state of affairs surrounding some of their leaders, including the Nazis. It continued on after the war, growing in influence and sprouting offshoots like Radio Free Europe and others. Today there are 5 or 6 such offshoots focusing on various geographic and geopolitical areas. The umbrella to all these services, including VOA, is the ‘Agency for Global Media”. Each individual service has its own board, editors, and staffs, all principally with journalism backgrounds. VOA has prided itself on it’s “down the middle” reporting and independence.
The arrival of a Trump appointee to head up the operations of the Agency for Global Media is one thing. That he has dissolved all the independent boards of directors, named himself chairman of each of those boards, and forced the resignation of some of the most accomplished leaders of the various agencies is another thing altogether. According to VOX:
“Steve Bannon, who was deeply involved with getting Trump to nominate his ally Michael Pack, sees the ousters as a reckoning for an agency that he believes has been too soft on covering China. “We are going hard on the charge,” Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and executive chairman of Breitbart, told me. “Pack’s over there to clean house.””
So Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, VOA and the Open Technology Fund are now leaderless, likely to be replaced by patsies. And don’t think the award-winning journalists will get a break. One radio or web report that pisses off Trump and he will zip to the byline and bye-bye byliner.
The Agency for Global Media has codified into law the fact that they are immune to outside political influences. But those lawmakers didn’t envision Trump and “You’re Fired!”