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Wed Sep 2, 2020, 02:27 PM

At Voice of America, Trump Appointee Sought Political Influence Over Coverage

David Fahrenthold Retweeted

‘The step by step and wholesale dismantling’ of journalistic safeguards at Voice of America. A thorough look at what Trump’s appointee has wrought, from ⁦
@davidfolkenflik
⁩ ⁦
@NPR



POLITICS

At Voice of America, Trump Appointee Sought Political Influence Over Coverage

September 2, 2020 5:00 AM ET

DAVID FOLKENFLIK Twitter

At the Voice of America, staffers say the Trump appointee leading their parent agency is threatening to wash away legal protections intended to insulate their news reports from political meddling.

"What we're seeing now is the step-by-step and wholescale dismantling of the institutions that protect the independence and the integrity of our journalism," says Shawn Powers, until recently the chief strategy officer for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA.

Voice of America's mission is a form of soft diplomacy: to embody democratic principles through fair reporting and to replace a free press in countries where there is none. VOA and its four sister networks together reach more than 350 million people abroad each week.

Since taking office in June, Pack has upended the agency. In a podcast interview last week with the pro-Trump website The Federalist, Pack said he had to take action because many executives and journalists were disregarding the agency's ethical standards.

"My job really is to drain the swamp, to root out corruption and to deal with these issues of bias, not to tell journalists what to report," Pack told host Chris Bedford. Pack has declined NPR's repeated and detailed requests for comment.

But it appears that Pack is, in fact, interested in influencing which stories get told, and how. The senior news editor who oversaw VOA's standards and practices was reassigned to a corporate position earlier this summer and has since played no role in guiding coverage or scrutinizing stories flagged as problematic.

And journalists say they are being second-guessed more frequently than they had come to expect. In two cases, stories were removed from VOA's websites after questions were raised. NPR has uncovered an additional instance in which the Voice of America's legal assurance of journalistic independence — known as a "firewall" — appears to have been explicitly violated by Pack and the team he has brought in.

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Reply At Voice of America, Trump Appointee Sought Political Influence Over Coverage (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2020 OP
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2020 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Sep 2020 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Sep 2, 2020, 02:46 PM

1. Voice of America Journalists: New CEO Endangers Reporters, Harms U.S. Aims

POLITICS

Voice of America Journalists: New CEO Endangers Reporters, Harms U.S. Aims

August 31, 2020 9:30 AM ET

DAVID FOLKENFLIK Twitter

A group of veteran journalists for the Voice of America delivered a letter of protest Monday denouncing their parent agency's new CEO, Michael Pack, and alleging Pack's remarks in a recent interview prove he has a damaging agenda for the international broadcasters he oversees.

Pack's comments and decisions "endanger the personal security of VOA reporters at home and abroad, as well as threatening to harm U.S. national security objectives," the letter to VOA Acting Director Elez Biberaj read.

The protest was triggered by Pack's interview with the conservative and pro-Trump website The Federalist but came after a long line of sweeping changes and purges at the federally funded networks overseen by Pack, an appointee of President Trump.

During the half-hour conversation, Pack joked with The Federalist's host, senior editor Chris Bedford, about deporting his own employees and forcing them to adopt unsafe workplace practices that could expose them to COVID-19. Pack said the agency was ripe for espionage and possibly rife with spies.

"It's a great place to put a foreign spy," Pack said, citing what he contended were severe security lapses by previous leadership.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Wed Sep 2, 2020, 02:54 PM

2. Here's the podcast.

How Michael Pack Is Draining The Swamp And Rooting Out Bias In Taxpayer Journalism

AUGUST 27, 2020 By The Federalist Staff

On this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour, Michael Pack CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media joins Senior Editor Chris Bedford to discuss public broadcasting’s failure to adhere to its objective standards and what his agency is doing about it.

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