BBG Watch Commentary
If the Trump White House nominates someone to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the individual, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will inherit a highly dysfunctional federal agency which allows hate speech comments on the Voice of America (VOA) sites calling for murder and other acts of violence against gays and whose current management has seriously undermined VOA’s credibility in China. Any candidate that President Trump may nominate for the BBG position is likely, however, to be accused of right-wing bias by Trump’s critics inside and outside of the agency.
WARNING: A SCREENSHOT POSTED BELOW FROM A VOA FACEBOOK PAGE COMMENT INCLUDES HATE SPEECH AND INCITEMENT TO MURDER — DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU MIGHT BE OFFENDED BY SUCH CONTENT. BBG Watch strongly condemns such comments. We decided to post it to show the dysfunctional state of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the Voice of America (VOA).
Although today’s Politico article does not mention this detail, Michael Pack, currently president and CEO of the Claremont Institute whom the reporter Hadas Gold identified as “the leading contender for the post” of CEO for the dysfunctional Broadcasting Board of Governors U.S. communications agency, was at one time director of WORLDNET TV in the former United States Information Agency (USIA) in addition to his later career at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS) and his cooperation with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in producing award-winning documentaries.
There has been no official confirmation from the White House whom President Trump may eventually nominate to fill the BBG CEO position which is currently occupied by Obama administration holdover John F. Lansing. The nominee would have to be vetted and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Lansing, who had no prior U.S. government, foreign policy and public diplomacy experience, had not been presented for Senate confirmation by the Obama White House.
“A White House spokesperson declined to comment on Pack, but said the administration has ‘no announcement at this time’,” Politico reported today.
White House eyes Bannon ally for top broadcasting post, Hadas Gold, Politico, June 1, 2017.
ALSO SEE: White House close to naming new BBG CEO with broad public media experience, BBG Watch, April 19, 2017.
Michael Pack’s biography on the Claremont Institute website has the following information:
“Mr. Pack has written, directed, and produced numerous award-winning, nationally broadcast documentaries, principally for PBS, as well as corporate and educational films. His major credits include: Rickover: The Birth of Nuclear Power, narrated by Joan Allen (2014); Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2011); God and the Inner City, narrated by Phylicia Rashad (2003); Rediscovering George Washington, hosted by Richard Brookhiser (2002); The Fall of Newt Gingrich, narrated by Blair Brown (2000); The Rodney King Incident: Race and Justice in America, narrated by Robert Prosky (1998); Inside the Republican Revolution: The First Hundred Days, hosted by Don Lambro (1995); Hollywood vs. Religion, hosted by Michael Medved (1995); Campus Culture Wars: Five Stories about Political Correctness, narrated by Lindsay Crouse (1993); and Hollywood’s Favorite Heavy: Businessmen on Prime Time TV, hosted by Eli Wallach (1987).”
The Broadcasting Board of Governors agency, together with its leading media outlet, the Voice of America (VOA), appear to be in a state of a management meltdown. A recent decision by VOA’s senior management to shorten a live TV interview with Chinese whistleblower businessman Guo Wengui led to charges of censorship by high-ranking VOA officials. It resulted in a dramatic damage to VOA’s reputation in China. Chinese Americans have organized protest demonstrations in front of the Voice of America building in Washington, DC, including staging a mock funeral for VOA.
The current Voice of America management is also allowing thousands of comments on VOA’s Facebook pages calling for murdering gays and other violent actions against LGBT community worldwide despite earlier warnings from inside and outside critics that such comments were being posted to VOA controlled media sites in truly alarming numbers.
WARNING: A SCREENSHOT BELOW FROM A VOA FACEBOOK PAGE COMMENT INCLUDES HATE SPEECH AND INCITEMENT TO MURDER — STOP VIEWING IF YOU MIGHT BE OFFENDED BY SUCH CONTENT. BBG Watch strongly condemns such comments. We decided to post it to show the dysfunctional state of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the Voice of America (VOA).
BBG and VOA have been warned as early as 2015 that many of the comments on VOA websites and social media pages contain hate speech calls for violence against gays. These warnings have been ignored.
ALSO SEE: Voice of America manager argues for keeping ‘hateful’ Facebook comments on U.S., France, and gays, BBG Watch, November 17, 2015.
Damage to Voice of America reputation in China is ‘unbelievable,’ VOA director was told, BBG Watch, May 3, 2017.
ALSO SEE: Sakharov Prize winner urges independent investigation of Voice of America China debacle, BBG Watch, May 24, 2017.
ALSO SEE: Did the Chinese Government Influence Voice of America?, Helle C. Dale, The Daily Signal, May 23, 2017.
ALSO SEE: Chinese Americans protest against censorship with a mock funeral at Voice of America, BBG Watch, May 8, 2017
Any White House nominee for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) position is likely to be accused by President Trump’s critics of extreme right wing bias even though the Voice of America under its current management has posted multiple one-sided attacks on Trump and many of his policies in violation of the VOA Charter, which is U.S. law, as in this VOA produced video during the 2016 presidential election campaign. The video was eventually removed.
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, VOA also posted a one-sided attack on Senator Bernie Sanders, also in violation of its congressional Charter, while a few VOA reporters uploaded memes showing Donald Trump with a Nazi swastika and as a sex organ and used an F-word to describe him in their personal but publicly accessible Facebook pages on which they are identified as working for the Voice of America. These actions have been condemned by many of their VOA colleagues. VOA reporters who had posted these memes are U.S. federal government employees.
The dysfunction of the Broadcasting Board of Governors has been described by Hillary Clinton in her 2013 congressional testimony with a remark that the agency was “practically defunct.”
In the 2016 Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), BBG’s federal employees have given the current senior management record low ratings for leadership and fostering employee engagement. Washington Post columnist Joe Davidson described the Broadcasting Board of Governors in his September 2016 column as “Regular Bottom Feeder … Going Backward.”