voice of america

In Part II of a two-part series, Dan Robinson looks at recent events involving the Broadcasting Board of Governors' oversight of Voice of America.

In Part I of a two-part series, Dan Robinson looks at recent events involving the Broadcasting Board of Governors' oversight of Voice of America.

 It’s 1 pm, and Current Time America is on the air. The program is one of two stateside productions of Current Time, a 24-7 Russian-language TV channel headquartered in Prague. But this isn’t some Euro import or a start-up aimed at Russian expats—it’s run by the U.S. government. Launched in February, the project is a collaboration between two venerable broadcasters, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. After Russia annexed Crimea, says Daisy Sindelar, the network’s director, “we realized that we were losing a messaging war.”

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.

Bruce's List Graphic
The newest list of crucial PD publications from Bruce Gregory is out now, featuring work from P. J. Crowley, Geoffrey Cowan, AEI, and RAND.
 

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