voice of america
Information warfare and fake news? Washington-funded media outlets like Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America have long run what the Kremlin sees as an anti-Putin propaganda campaign aimed at supporting the Russian opposition.
The Trump administration’s leading candidate to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a position that with recent changes would give the appointee unilateral power over the United States’ government messaging abroad reaching millions, is a conservative documentarian with ties to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
A month after Trump was elected, Republicans in Congress changed the VOA’s governing structure, replacing its independent and bipartisan board of governors with a CEO appointed directly by the president. [...] Taken together, the moves indicate that Trump is poised to turn the government news service—which reaches a global audience of 236 million every week through its radio and TV broadcasts—into a mouthpiece for his personal brand.
VOA began radio broadcasting in 1942, to combat Nazi propaganda. Per its charter, it is mandated to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” Since WWII, it has been the front-edge of America’s informational interface with citizens around the world, particularly those battling dictatorships and tyranny. [...] VOA is the largest public diplomacy program of the United States government and broadcasts in more than 40 languages.
A new paper in our Perspectives series looks at U.S. international broadcasting.