Ousting of senior officials at US Agency for Global Media raises concerns over press freedom
The Trump administration has accelerated its purge of the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), in what critics warn is a further step towards turning Voice of America and other public broadcasters into propaganda outlets.
Seven senior officials had their security clearances withdrawn this week, making it impossible for them to continue in their roles. They included the chief financial officer and former interim CEO, Grant Turner, and the agency’s general counsel, David Kligerman, who both said they had been fired for their resistance to the politicisation of the organisation under its new chief executive, Michael Pack, a Trump supporter and ally of rightwing ideologue, Steve Bannon.
Career officials have in several cases been replaced by political loyalists. Politico reported on Thursday that a controversial former radio talk show host had been hired as a senior adviser to USAGM leadership. A CNN investigation found that Frank Wuco had a record of outrageous insults and groundless claims. He called President Barack Obama “a Kenyan” referred to the Democratic congressional leader Nancy Pelosi as a “Nazi”, and claimed former CIA director John Brennan had converted to Islam. The Washington Post found he had suggested the US should have dropped nuclear weapons on Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
The change in tone has been reflected in recent digital output. On Thursday, the VOA tweeted a link to a news story titled “Ivanka Trump Continues Women Empowerment Agenda Amid Pandemic” illustrated by a smiling picture of the president’s daughter. The story makes clear that she was one of several officials and business leaders announcing new funding of women’s economic projects.
More at the link above. Like every authoritarian state ruler tRump wants his own propaganda channel to spout his praises and his misinformation? One where there will never be dissent or disagreement with the Dear Leader no matter what reality his pushes. Hugs