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Censorship

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET

Michael Pack resigned Wednesday as the CEO of the federal agency over the Voice of America and other federally funded international broadcasters after a turbulent seven-month tenure. He leaves the U.S. Agency for Global Media with a Trumpian legacy of ideological strife, lawsuits and scandal, his departure effective just two hours after the swearing-in of President Biden, who requested him to leave.

The new president of the federally funded Radio Free Asia network most recently ran a consulting company from Boise, Idaho that has represented foreign governments and interests. Among them is Taiwan.

That connection has startled veterans of the international broadcaster.

"Are you serious?" said Libby Liu, who led Radio Free Asia for 14 years. "I don't think it's appropriate for a registered lobbyist for a foreign government to be leading a free-press organization, even democracies we support and admire."

Voice of America White House reporter Patsy Widakuswara was reassigned Monday evening just hours after pressing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether he regretted saying there would be a second Trump administration after President-elect Joe Biden's victory was apparent.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Fresh crises and fresh challenges confront the Trump-appointed CEO of the parent of Voice of America, even with less than two weeks left of the Trump presidency.

To start, the Attorney General of the District of Columbia this week accused U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack of illegally funneling more than $4 million to his private documentary company through a not-for-profit that he also controls.

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Staff at the Toledo Blade are at odds with ownership, saying owners are altering pieces written by journalists to soften stories critical of President Trump.  

Michael Pack's stormy tenure over the federal agency that oversees government-funded broadcasters abroad — including Voice of America — appears to be coming to a close. Yet President Trump's appointee has sparked an internal outcry by taking bold steps to try to cement his control over at least two of the networks and shape the course of their journalism well into the Biden administration.

Robert R. Reilly is taking the reins at the Voice of America with extreme, publicly stated views on some subjects that may complicate his mission of sharing news and U.S. values with vast audiences around the globe.

Updated at 12:08 a.m. ET on Wednesday

The Trump appointee who runs the government's overseas broadcasters reassigned the head of the Voice of America on Tuesday as part of a broad effort to install supporters of the president before the Biden administration comes to power.

U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack is intending to name as VOA director Robert Reilly, an outspoken conservative ally who briefly served in the job under President George W. Bush nearly two decades ago.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal watchdog, disclosed Wednesday that it had found "a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" at the parent agency of the Voice of America under the leadership of the CEO appointed by President Trump.

Updated at 3:09 p.m. ET

The chief executive over the Voice of America and its sister networks has acted unconstitutionally in investigating what he claimed was a deep-seated bias against President Trump by his own journalists, a federal judge has ruled.

Crisis has been the defining constant at the Voice of America and its parent agency for the past five months.

That's how long Michael Pack, the conservative documentary maker picked by President Trump to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, has been in charge.

A regulatory "firewall" intended to protect Voice of America and its affiliated newsrooms from political interference in their journalism was swept aside late Monday night by the chief executive of the federal agency which oversees the government's international broadcasters.

Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, is proposing new legislation to outlaw political pressure on journalists at the Voice of America and other U.S. government-funded networks.

Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. agency that oversees Voice of America, is drawing fresh scrutiny and tough questions from key Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The CEO appointed by President Trump to lead the federal agency that oversees the Voice of America and other U.S.-funded international broadcasters has made strict protocols for scrutinizing job candidates a hallmark of his brief tenure there. CEO Michael Pack suspended a slew of senior executives at the U.S. Agency for Global Media and stopped routinely renewing visas for foreign employees over hiring protocols, claiming the executives' lapses threatened national security.

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.