BBG Watch Commentary

Officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency in charge of U.S. international media outreach, claim that centralization of management allows the government to save resources, exchange programs, increase social media traffic and make its federal and non-federal entities, such as the federal Voice of America (VOA) and non-federal Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) more effective in countering ISIL’s violent extremism and Putin’s anti-American propaganda. Critics argue that increased government ownership of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has made it more dysfunctional, more bureaucratic and more government-like than it has every been before. Overseen from Washington by the federal bureaucracy of the BBG, RFE/RL has not had permanent leadership for over two years, but BBG Watch has learned that a new outside candidate to lead RFE/RL as president and CEO has been identified. The candidate is reportedly being interviewed by members of the BBG’s federal board of governors.

Meanwhile, critics have alerted BBG Watch to a new example among many recent ones of what government ownership does to a previously distinguished and mostly independent journalistic organization which used to have as part of its mission delivering news and information to those who truly can’t get it any other way.

One internal critic told us that she understands why the RFE/RL headline, Sausage-Wielding Extremists Attack Vegan Cafe In Tbilisi caused this story to hit the front page of Reddit, but described it as the most trashy writing by a serious journalistic organization she has ever read.

From the RFE/RL report:

“Taken out of the context of recent events in Tbilisi, the incident could be dismissed by some as part of a backlash that has emerged on social media recently against anticarnivorous vegan rhetoric in Western counterculture.”


READ: “Sausage-Wielding Extremists Attack Vegan Cafe In Tbilisi” | RFE/RL


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