BBG Watch Media
As reported by Susan Crabtree in the Washington Free Beacon, “President Trump has re-nominated documentary filmmaker Michael Pack to lead the nation’s taxpayer-funded global broadcasting operation, which was created to counter propaganda from repressive regimes but critics say has lost its focus and needs reform.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon’s senior reporter, “with conservative Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho ) newly installed as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Pack is expected to win confirmation after Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and former Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) held up the nomination last year.”
Unlike John F. Lansing, a former private TV cable industry executive who is the current Obama administration holdover CEO of the scandal-ridden United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), previously known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Michael Pack had managed before government and public sector organizations. Pack was director of Worldnet Television in the former United States Information Agency (USIA) and a Corporation for Public Broadcasting executive. He is also an award-winning producer of documentary films for PBS, but critics on the left expressed concerns about his collaboration on two documentaries with Steve Bannon, the former strategy chief for President Trump. The article in the Washington Free Beacon points out that “supporters say Pack would in no way be beholden to Bannon, especially after his failing out with Trump.”
We would add that it is unprecedented for holdover officials to stay this long in the U.S. media agency’s top positions after the presidential election. This is especially glaring in light of numerous reports of mismanagement, pro-Iran regime propaganda in Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) programs to Iran, and low employee morale under the current holdover management team. Senators Menendez and Corker introduced legislation that would have made it easier for Obama administration appointees at USAGM to keep their positions, but their bill was blocked in the Senate. The latest scandal of the holdover USAGM management team in charge of VOA and RFE/RL was the illegal targeting of Americans with Facebook ads. It was exposed in U.S. media reports and in a study issued by former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently retired U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-CA).
READ MORE: Trump Sticks With Pack for Broadcasting Chief. By Susan Crabtree, Washington Free Beacon, January 17, 2019.