Michael Pack, the new head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, is coming under scrutiny for purging the directors and advisory boards of several U.S. government-funded media outlets. A conservative documentary filmmaker, Pack was confirmed by the Senate last month after being nominated for the position by President Donald Trump in 2018. One of Pack’s first moves after taking office was to fire or demote the chiefs of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Network and the Open Technology Fund. The directors of Voice of America, USAGM’s flagship global news network, had already resigned following his confirmation.
Trump has long been critical of VOA. He has called the network a “disgrace,” and in April, the White House released a lengthy statement criticizing its coverage, saying it “too often speaks for America’s adversaries, not its citizens.”
This week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators co-authored a letter to Pack, in which they expressed dismay at the recent personnel purge and pledged to undertake “a thorough review of USAGM’s funding.” The senators are not the only ones concerned with Pack’s leadership, as many experts have pointed out that politicizing VOA will do lasting damage to a valuable tool of U.S. public diplomacy.