On Ukraine, former Voice of America reporter Dan Robinson writes, “Yet again, not a single mention of USAGM [U.S. Agency for Global Media].
USAGM Watch Commentary
Former Voice of America reporter Dan Robinson wrote in an article published on the Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) that “Amnesia about the continued existence of USAGM – at a yearly cost to taxpayers of $810 million (FY22 requested) – is not without explanation because USAGM has an established record as one of the most dysfunctional and mismanaged agencies in the federal government.” He added: “At one point, Biden transition team members were reported by a reliable source to be ‘red-faced’ when briefed about mismanagement that existed well before the Trump administration.” [Robinson’s emphasis].
As long as taxpayers continue to support USAGM to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, as a soft power projection tool, one would think it would receive more attention.
The fact that it has not is an interesting commentary on how far off the radar USAGM — which has permanently damaged its own reputation over the years through managerial incompetence – has fallen.
Even as parts of USAGM continue to have some impact in situations such as Ukraine, I have long argued that the agency should be slimmed down, even eliminated, and combined with other tools such as the Global Engagement Center at the State Department.
But as everyone knows, killing or substantially downsizing any federal program ranks high on the impossibility chart. Indeed, USAGM managers are no doubt calculating how to use the Ukraine war as leverage to increase the agency’s budget, and make new claims about increased audience size.Dan Robinson, Where are U.S.-funded global media in discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine?, Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) Blog, February 28, 2022.
READ: “Where are U.S.-funded global media in discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine?” by Dan Robinson, Public Diplomacy Council (PDC) Blog, February 28, 2022
Dan Robinson was VOA chief White House correspondent from 2010 to 2014, and before that congressional and foreign correspondent and head of VOA’s broadcasts to Myanmar. Some of his commentaries have been published by USAGM Watch (BBG Watch)