BBG Watch Commentary

In analyzing the start of Andy Lack’s CEO job at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Helle C. Dale, the Heritage Foundation’s senior fellow in public diplomacy, pointed out that “government censorship is keeping U.S. broadcasting out of a number of target countries.” She also observed that in the Middle East, “the United States desperately needs a media strategy to deal with the explosion of extreme radical Islamism and its impact on social media.”

Inside and outside advocates for reform of U.S. international media outreach agree with most of Ms. Dale’s conclusions about Andy Lack, especially with her statement that Andy Lack has a Herculean task ahead of him at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, particularly at the Voice of America (VOA) and the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). But some have questioned Ms. Dale’s point that BBG journalists and their union are a significant part of the problem. They point out that the opposite is true. Whenever BBG succeeds in its mission, it is largely due to the talent and dedication of the rank and file employees, while most of the failures can be attributed to senior executives and some mid-level managers.

HELLE DALE: “Many have argued that in order to equip the USIB to take on these challenges, it needs major structural reform. Last year, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation, H.R. 4490, to reform the media services under the Broadcasting Board of Governors. It was never introduced in the Senate, though. Reform still needs to happen, unless we somehow believe that one man—Andrew Lack—can do it all.”

READ MORE: New CEO Sworn in to Lead U.S. International Broadcasting, Helle Dale, The Daily Signal, January 22, 2015.