Will Trump’s Voice of America Shakeup Harm U.S. Public Diplomacy?

Will Trump’s Voice of America Shakeup Harm U.S. Public Diplomacy?
President Donald Trump after speaking at a White House news conference about the coronavirus, Washington, March 14, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

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.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review