Broadcasting Board of Governors – Shorts
by The Federalist
Well, it is August after all and even the Federalist needs some vacation time. The Broadcasting Board of Governors and its International Broadcasting Bureau (BBG/IBB) is the non-stop gift that keeps on giving – when it comes to one misstep after another. In turn, this means we have plenty of material to work with, even when we are on vacation.
And we’ll be taking notes, phone calls and emails in between vacation pursuits.
Thus, before Labor Day gets here, some quick thoughts to ponder:
Most often, we are on the same page with our editors. But now and then, we take a slightly alternative look at things to add some flavor to the BBG Watch perspective. Here are some:
The CEO Proposal:
One of the things coming out of the Cohen Building is the idea of a “chief executive officer” for US international broadcasting. It may be a “silly” proposal, so to speak, but let’s expand the perspective a bit.
As we often like to say, we know these IBB types very well. Once they decide they want something, they will continue to go after it. They will obsess over it. They are most likely laying the groundwork for the next phase of this battle, continuing with their proposals and entrees with Members of Congress to get support for the idea.
In short, the only way this obsession will go away is when the people advocating it are no longer on the agency’s staffing pattern.
The idea is a bad one for a number of reasons:
Let’s look at this agency for the reputation its senior management has assiduously constructed for over a decade. It is the worst organization in the Federal Government. It is that way because these guys want it that way. It goes beyond the horrid reputation these individuals have established in the annual Federal employee surveys. It speaks to their arrogance, their sense of being beyond the normal reach of oversight, accountability, checks and balances, along with their brazen defiance of congressional intent.
What these individuals want is someone in this position to represent or protect their interests – not the national or public interest, mind you, but rather their own self-interest which manifests itself in not only their group dynamic noted above, but also in keeping that gravy train of big bonuses rolling. Greed in the Federal government is very much at home on the Third Floor of the Cohen Building.
And, if it comes to pass that someone already situated on the Third Floor winds up in this position, that would solidify perpetuating the miserable record these people have set for themselves: all of the above and being chiefly responsible for the United States “losing the information war” with global publics.
What the American people do not need is a “CEO for Life” in this position and that is precisely what these folks would be angling for.
That much power residing in one individual propping up a regime that is costing the American taxpayers millions in a failed mission is wholly unacceptable. And the Congress should show the wisdom of not letting it happen because of the damage to US international broadcasting that has been done and which would likely be perpetuated if left unchecked.
And here’s another thing:
Keep in mind that if this position were to be encumbered by a person the Third Floor gang doesn’t like, they will do everything they possibly can to make that person’s life miserable. We know they can be a vicious, arrogant and insubordinate lot. They would go out of their way to undermine any directive or initiative not to their liking. They’re doing it right now. That is what US international broadcasting has become in this regime of lifetime careerists protecting their self-interest.
What is really needed is a major house-cleaning on the Third Floor. Big time. These people think they have a job for life and are untouchable. Well maybe not so. They can always be detailed to some obscure Federal office building out beyond Dulles Airport. Imagine that commute. In winter. Imagine it anytime with the way Washington traffic is. Do to them what the British did to Napoleon (to better effect the second time around):
Exile. Deep exile. Exile of the worst kind for them: political exile. Career exile. Working on some esoteric paper project destined for some file cabinet.
They would still be collecting their six-figure salaries. But getting them OUT of US international broadcasting and perhaps cutting them off from their bonus-mongering would be a major victory for the American people, the national and public interest and foreign publics who might still want to rely upon the United States for news and information.
The ONLY acceptable way a CEO position in this agency can be handled is through the tried and true process: nomination by the president, confirmation by the Senate. And like every other political appointee, this person would submit his/her resignation when the administration changes. That gives a new administration some breathing space, particularly as is needed now in an agency that is long overdue for a course correction – as opposed to the crash-and-burn process that is currently underway.
As with the CEO maneuver, this is something the IBB wants and they will obsess over it until they get it or are put in their place and told to forget it.
The underlying agenda here is to propagandize the American people – the only audience spared the agonizing disintegration of the agency and its mission. As we see it, the IBB would use the revision to the Smith-Mundt Act to bombard the American people with an endless stream of nonsense about what a great and wonderful job they are doing. Of course, all you have to do is read a newspaper, watch the news on television or listen to the radio to know that the real world bears no resemblance to the prattle from the agency’s Public Affairs office. The American people don’t need to be targeted in such a manner – and that is what they would be: a target, a demographic to be manipulated, exploited and worst of all: deceived.
Last but not least –
Kind of a precursor to what would happen if the Smith-Mundt Act were to be “modernized,” we have the agency “blog” under the name of Richard Lobo, a senior agency official.
We call this a “mono-blog” because that’s what it is: a one-way monologue from Mr. Lobo.
To all outward appearance, Mr. Lobo isn’t interested in your comments or observations regarding his views about US international broadcasting. It appears that Mr. Lobo wants to tell you what a great job they are doing in the Cohen Building and how marvelously imaginative and innovative they are. They might have the “imaginative” part down.
It’s called fiction.
The reality is that US international broadcasting is a travesty and becoming more of a hollow shell by the day at the hands of the IBB and its “flim flam strategic plan.”
But again, the name of the game now is to perpetrate that fiction on the American people, in any way possible. Apparently, senior agency officials believe that the American people are dummied down enough to be gullible in believing this one-way blah-blah-blah from the Third Floor of the Cohen Building.
However, when you are now in the business of propaganda, manipulation and exploitation (as we see the intended outcome of a change to Smith-Mundt in the hands of the IBB), the mono-blog is a perfect fit.
And don’t be thinking that these guys are interested in “transparency.” They are not. They are doing everything they possibly can to bury their agenda in secrecy and concoct diversions such as the laughable “global news network.” Indeed, these people would be very happy with a firewall to prevent serious public scrutiny, churning out an endless stream of fictions concocted at will.
Vacation or not, this is why we’re here: to show you how an agency of the Federal Government is being destroyed from within and the consequences of that destruction for American strategic interests and our place in the international community.
If you want a sure sign of American prestige in world in serious decline, you need not look further than the Cohen Building.
If we know it, you can be sure our “Big Three” (the Chinese, the Russians and the Iranians) know it, too.
One must remain ever vigilant in the face of the machinations of the IBB bonus-mongers. Don’t think for one moment that they have given up the pursuit of these and other things they want: the CEO position, the “modernization” of Smith-Mundt, the destruction of US international broadcasting.
Trust no one on the Third Floor of the Cohen Building, the great pontificators of hypocrisy.