BBG Watch Commentary

It is not clear whether the Public Diplomacy Council’s (PDC) headline, “BBG CEO opposes plan to restructure US international broadcasting,” is entirely accurate.

According to PDC’s blog post by Adam Powell, “John Lansing, the new CEO and Director of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors, pulled no punches as he discussed a proposed reorganization of America’s international broadcasting: he said it’s a mistake.”

“Ahead of a Senate committee hearing … (Nov. 17) on options for changing the structure of U.S. government broadcasting, Lansing said one idea in particular makes no sense: Dividing the governing structure into two separate, independent boards would only lead to confusion and wasted effort,” Powell wrote.

The author points out that “two-board proposal is the heart of a bill that was approved by a House committee session last May,” and adds that “the bill has been strongly criticized by many, including former VOA Director Alan Heil.”

The author of the blog post, Adam Clayton Powell III, is a University Fellow of the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy and a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communications Leadership and Policy.

READ MORE: BBG CEO opposes plan to restructure US international broadcasting, Adam Powell, PDC, November 16, 2015

It is strange that the PDC website has an alarmist title “BBG CEO opposes plan to restructure US international broadcasting,” but the link to the video of the talk cuts out any discussion of restructuring.

If Lansing’s opposition to reform is so important that it warrants a blog title, PDC should have published his remarks in full (video or transcript). The reader can’t tell if Lansing’s quotes are taken out of context or not.

One senior congressional staffer told BBG Watch that “the histrionic reaction of the PDC to reform, epitomized by the headline, undermines the organization’s credibility and its cause.”

Details of Nov. 17 Senate hearing:

Options for Reforming U.S. Overseas Broadcasting

Link to information about Royce/Engel U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Legislation:

H.R. 2323, the United States International Communications Reform Act to improve the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters. (Introduced on May 14, 2015 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)).