Ted Lipien writes in an Washington Examiner op-ed that the Voice of America (VOA) suffered under the disastrous arrangement of being run by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Board members. Some of the Governors had done business in Russia and China while overseeing U.S. media outreach to these countries. Under the watch of their appointees, VOA journalists took bribes from foreign officials, celebrated Communists such as Che Guevara and Angela Davis, posted photos of themselves with corrupt foreign leaders and with U.S. political figures running for office, broadcast a call for violence against an American politician, showed the finger to anti-Iranian regime protesters, produced and spread on social media videos with Chinese, Russian and Iranian propaganda and long videos showing nothing but burning of American and Israeli flags, blocked their critics on Twitter so they would not be able to see their mistakes, and interfered in U.S. elections. VOA journalists who tried to counter this trend and interview a whistleblower and critic of the communist Chinese regime saw their interview shortened and were fired by the VOA Director.
Lipien, a co-founder and supporter of BBG – USAGM Watch, is a former VOA acting associate director for central programs, former VOA Eurasia Division director, former BBG regional marketing director for Eurasia and the Middle East, and former VOA Polish Service chief during Solidarity trade union’s struggle for democracy in Poland. He also worked as a VOA broadcaster, editor and reporter and wrote a book about feminism and Pope John Paul II.
Most op-ed writers have merely glanced over Pack’s reassurances to members of Congress that he supports VOA’s bipartisan congressional Charter — a 1976 U.S. law requiring VOA news and presentations of opinions to be accurate, balanced, comprehensive and reflective in a responsible way of the entire American society. After all, the majority of U.S. taxpayers would never agree to pay for propaganda that promotes only one set of ideas in VOA programs, or for any kind of propaganda, including that of China’s regime. Unfortunately, VOA under the Obama administration holdover management preceding Pack’s appointment, repeated Chinese propaganda on multiple occasions.
The same journalists and op-ed writers now issuing gloom-and-doom warnings about the Voice of America under the Pack’s management should have been up in arms when VOA’s earlier coverage came up strangely slanted toward the interests of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, theocratic Iran, communist China and Cuba, and even North Korea.
Some of VOA’s coverage even interfered with U.S. elections — frequently enough to draw criticism from experts, refugee journalists, leaders of immigrant communities and even from Bernie Sanders’ supporters.