BBG Watch Commentary
A former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member, Ambassador Victor Ashe, expressed dismay over the departure of Voice of America (VOA) White House correspondent Dan Robinson as a result of what appears to be gross mismanagement by senior VOA executives and threats.
“This is a sad day for Voice of America. Clearly working conditions at VOA have deteriorated to the point that a true professional like Dan Robinson is departing,” former BBG member and former U.S. Ambassador to Poland Victor Ashe said in a statement.
His statement continued:
“Why is VOA leader David Ensor silent? The BBG board should conduct an inquiry and share the results with the public. Jeff Shell should insist on a full accounting as chair. This is another step in the decline of VOA,” Victor Ashe said.
Writing on her public Facebook page, another former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) presidentially-appointed member, Blanquita Cullum, said that she was “very disturbed and very sad to read that brilliant journalist Dan Robinson is leaving the Voice of America.”
Robinson made it clear in his farewell message and in a separate letter to current BBG members that he made his decision to leave because of mismanagement and intimidation of journalists by senior VOA and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) officials. Robinson wrote that one official, whom he did not name but who is believed to be a senior VOA executive, bullied and threatened him with dismissal.
Robinson also made a number of observations about the undermining of VOA’s journalistic reputation and ability to report news under its current leadership.
Cullum hosted one of the top 100 radio talk shows in the US, served as the president of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts, and founded the Young American Broadcasters.
Cullum currently hosts “The Hard Question,” an interview-based television program focused on energy issues aired in Houston, TX.
Link to Dan Robinson’s Facebook page.
Link to Robinson’s Letter to BBG members.
While serving on the BBG board, Victor Ashe was a powerful advocate for reforms, transparency and accountability by senior officials. He is credited with saving Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) from a devastating management crisis. Widely admired by BBG employees, Ashe was honored by them with a planting of a commemorative Victor Ashe Tree in one of the city parks in Knoxville, TN, where he had served as mayor for four terms.