BBG member S. Enders Wimbush described as chief architect of program cuts to Tibet, China and other communist countries

BBG Watch News Commentary Sources told BBG Watch that it was not former Democratic Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson but Republican member S. Enders Wimbush who can be described as the chief architect of the parts of the FY2013 BBG budget proposal which call for ending Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet and VOA radio and TV Cantonese broadcasts to China. Isaacson, however, supported Wimbush and his program cutting proposals. There were not enough other Republican members to oppose Wimbush and some of the Democrats who also supported the plan to end or reduce VOA broadcasts. Wimbush used his position as chair of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee to push for these cuts as well cuts and reductions in VOA programs to other countries ruled by communist and other authoritarian regimes. In addition to Tibet and China, the BBG FY2013 budget proposal also targets VOA program to Laos, Vietnam and Burma. Despite having one of the worst attendance records at general board meetings, Wimbush was very active in his position on the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee and used it to get the majority of Board members to approve numerous cuts to Voice of America news and information programs. Wimbush was also described by sources as the chief supporter of an earlier BBG proposal to eliminate all Voice of America radio and television programs in Mandarin and Cantonese. He wrote a response to a critical op-ed in The Washington Times about the BBG China plan. Wimbush called the plan to end VOA broadcasts to China a “politically smart” move. All Republicans and Democrats in House and Senate committees with oversight over the BBG budget voted last year to kill this proposal. S. ENDERS WIMBUSH’s LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE WASHINGTON TIMES Ending VOA China presence politically smart Despite the setback and bipartisan criticism he received in Congress in 2010, Wimbush continued his efforts to eliminate or reduce Voice of America programs and managed to get enough other BBG members to support his latest plan to stop VOA from broadcasting radio to Tibet and to other communist-ruled countries. Sources tell us that Wimbush often clashed in closed board meetings with senior Republican member Victor Ashe who opposed many of the proposed programming cuts to countries without free media. Sources also told BBG Watch that Wimbush generally opposes Ashe on transparency, accountability and employee morale issues, but on such issues Ashe sometimes gets enough support from other Republicans as well as some Democrats. Sources describe Wimbush as extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism or disagreement with his views. One source said that at a recent board meeting, Wimbush launched a loud verbal criticism of Brian Conniff, President of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. (MBN), broadcasting news and information in Arabic to the Middle East. The Board selected Conniff, who oversees the operation of the radio network Radio Sawa, as well as two television channels: Alhurra and Alhurra-Iraq, to be in charge of planning for…

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BBG member S. Enders Wimbush described as chief architect of program cuts to Tibet, China and other communist countries

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