USAGM Watch Commentary

President Trump has renewed his criticism of the Voice of America (VOA) which is now managed by VOA Director Amanda Bennett who was appointed to her position during the Obama administration. On May 15, 2020, Trump responded briefly to a reporter’s question, saying that “I know that Voice of America is run in a terrible manner, terrible. And they’re not the Voice of America. They’re the opposite of the Voice of America.”

In an April 10, 2020 statement, Bennett denied that the Voice of America is mismanaged and said that “VOA News depends on factual unbiased reporting.”

Critics, including Chinese Americans, Iranian Americans and other immigrants and political refugees from countries under communist and authoritarian rule have charged that the Voice of America has become under Bennett’s watch biased and partisan to an unprecedented degree and has been repeating Chinese communist and Iranian islamist propaganda without a proper challenge or balance. Bennett denies these accusations.

SEE: Amanda Bennett Is First Voice of America Director at War with Refugees From Communism and Iran, BBG Watch, May 4, 2020.

President Trump’s nominee to lead the $800 million (annual) U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), documentary filmmaker Michael Pack has been in the nominating process since 2018. Senator Bob Mernendez (D-NJ) announced yesterday that the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) informed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that it is actively investigating a nonprofit organization, the Public Media Lab, run by Michael Pack. Pack, who recently produced a documentary on African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas which will be shown Monday on PBS, denies that his nonprofit has done anything improper.

President Trump on the Voice of America and Nomination of Michael Pack to USAGM, May 15, 2020

REPORTER: Do you stand by the nomination of Michael Pack to lead the Voice of America after news that DC Attorney General [started an investigation of Pack’s nonprofit]

TRUMP: I don’t know what happened, but I know that Voice of America is run in a terrible manner, terrible. And they’re not the Voice of America. They’re the opposite of the Voice of America. And we have a man who’s very good. I don’t know. He’s in the nominating process. But I’ll have to check that out.

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