USAGM Watch Media Commentary

USAGM Watch has learned from sources at the Voice of America (VOA) that the principal writers and editors of the VOA story about a new scandal involving multiple management failures at the most senior level in the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), led by former VOA director Amanda Bennett, were in contact with senior managers and agreed to the cuts in their original news report sometime after it had been posted on the web. They told colleagues that they did not see the removal of some of the information from their report as censorship or self-censorship.

However, to many inside and outside observers, including the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Congressman Michael T. McCaul R-TX, the cuts in the VOA news report appear as a classic example of censorship by the management or self-censorship by some of the VOA editors and reporters. Rep. McCaul has asked USAGM Amanda Bennett for answers. She is scheduled to appear on March 9, 2023 before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

A group of VOA Russian Service journalists protested against the VOA-USAGM leadership’s recent hiring of journalists, claiming that these newly hired broadcasters’ previous work in Russia for Vladimir Putin’s state media was not adequately evaluated by the agency’s leadership before the VOA management employed them. The Washington Post had the initial story by its reporter Paul Farhi on the VOA-USAGM management scandal before VOA issued its news report, in which cuts were made later. National Review has a story by Jimmy Quinn on Rep. McCaul’s March 6, 2023 letter to Amanda Bennett.