The official Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) announcement on today’s meeting of BBG members and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) Director Richard Lobo with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resembles Soviet Communist Party Central Committee statements — one must read between the lines to guess what it all means.
Our live report from the subsequent open meeting of the BBG Board provides a much clearer picture of the disarray at the very top of the agency and the resistance of the BBG and IBB senior staff — being pushed by Governor Ashe — to deal with critical issues. During the meeting, Ashe received some support from Governor Meehan, Governor McCue, and Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine on the issues of the CEO selection, grantee merger, negotiations with the union, and the Gallup contract. A major victory for the critics of the BBG/IBB senior staff was the Board’s decision to postpone any action on the controversial grantee consolidation proposal. See: BBG open meeting just started, CEO decision announced, Perino again missing
We are providing the BBG announcement for the record.
In a meeting today with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton encouraged the Board in their strategic efforts to restructure and increase the impact of U.S. international broadcasting.
BBG Presiding Governor Michael Lynton led the Board’s delegation to the State Department, which included Governors Victor Ashe, Dennis Mulhaupt, Susan McCue, and Michael Meehan, as well as Richard M. Lobo, Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. Under Secretary of State Tara Sonenshine, the Secretary’s representative to the BBG, took a leading role in framing the discussion.
Lynton noted that during a discussion in June 2011, the Board shared with the Secretary its intention to undertake a wholesale transformation of U.S. international broadcasting, and had since adopted a five-year strategic plan.
“Change will not happen overnight,” Lynton said. “But the reforms we are enacting will strengthen the agency’s ability to deliver on its mission in support of U.S. national interests: to inform, engage and connect with people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
Lynton and his colleagues on the Board also discussed with Secretary Clinton their efforts to improve the BBG’s digital outreach, which have included launching programs on new platforms, creating an office focused on innovation, and forming an outside advisory group of leading innovators in social media and other fields.
And they expressed their condolences over the loss this week of four diplomats serving in Libya, including the new U.S. ambassador, Christopher Stevens.
Secretary Clinton serves on the BBG ex-officio. She’s the only Secretary of State to have met with the Board.