by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Donald Trump’s more-than-one-year delay in naming new leadership at the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its flagship broadcasting service, the Voice of America, is fueling fierce internal battles over the direction of its coverage and criticism from conservatives that the $684 million BBG budget is being used to undermine Trump’s policies at home and abroad.
Aware of the turmoil within the BBG-controlled agencies, the White House last year planned to tap Michael Pack, a senior fellow and past president of the Claremont Institute and its Claremont Review of Books, to run the BBG, according to two government officials and outside sources.
However, Pack, a documentary filmmaker who previously served as a Corporation for Public Broadcasting executive, has been unable to take the post because he is working on a film about the life of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The Thomas film would pose conflict-of-interest issues with leading the BBG, the sources said. …
… With the Obama appointees remaining in place for more than a year, tensions are bubbling over within the BBG as conservative-leaning current and former employees, some of whom joined the organization as a way to fight back against totalitarian regimes, continue to bristle at what they argue is the VOA’s negative coverage of the Trump administration’s signature policies.
The critics often voice their opposition to management decisions on BBGWatch.com, which is produced by unpaid volunteers, including many current and former employees. The website says its mission is to “restore good management and sharp news focus to taxpayer-funded American media outreach abroad.”