NEWS: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty president Ted Lipien has signed contracts embedding USAGM CEO Michael Pack & his appointees on RFE board for next two years - only removable for crime now and only for cause after two years./con't
This according to NPR review of documents & two people with knowledge of events.

Executives at Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks have already agreed to similar language. 2/con't
Lipien, like the other execs recently named by Pack to job delayed signing. He justified internally by saying RFE would have lost out on fed $ needed to operate.

FWIW, RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia & MBN are non profit networks given funding by federal government to fulfill missions. Voice of America & Office of Cuba Broadcasting owned by federal government outright.

The non profits all have board filled with conservative activists and Trump admin officials, a break with past practice of bipartisan support.

The Biden administration is expected to challenge the moves.

5/ end
Addendum: Lipien signed the contract yesterday while in DC - same time as Pack and VOA leaders met with Secretary of State Pompeo - and a VOA WH reporter's edged questions about Pompeo's support for Trump after the event led to her reassignment by deputy VOA director.

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More from @davidfolkenflik

12 Jan
NEWS: Major public radio stations in Los Angeles, DC, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Pittsburgh etc send joint protest to NYT in fallout over collapse of "Caliphate" series.

They cite "troubling" actions of "The Daily" host Michael Barbaro & presence of producer Andy Mills. /con't
2/ "The Daily" runs on public radio stations around the country as a news program, distributed by American Public Media.

Station officials: "We feel Barbaro's actions are in direct conflict with our ethical guidelines and they call his general credibility into question."/ con't
The Daily & the limited run Caliphate, had been very bright spots for the NYT as it looked to expand revenue beyond its phenomenally successful digital pay subscription business. Baquet said NYT's leaders had failed to pay sufficient attention to rigors of journalism in audio.
Read 12 tweets
8 Dec 20
NEWS: USAGM CEO Michael Pack today removed acting Voice of America Director Elez Biberaj, NPR has learned.

He took action as part of an effort to consolidate greater loyalty with the agency and its networks ahead of the Biden administration coming to power. /MORE
Biberaj, a 40-year VOA veteran, is returning to his job as head of the VOA.

Pack is intending to name Robert Reilly, a conservative writer and former government official who briefly served as director of the Voice of America under George W Bush, to replace Biberaj. /MORE
Reilly has written in support of Pack's moves to fire and force out executives and network chiefs - and also WH claims that VOA's journalists have echoed foreign propaganda…
Read 6 tweets
24 Nov 20
NEWS: Fox News reaches settlement with Seth Rich's parents over May 2017 story baselessly alleging he had leaked 1000s of DNC emails to Wikileaks during the 2016 campaign. Fox also suggested - without any evidence - link between Dems and Rich's death in July 2016. /more
Joel and Mary Rich: “The settlement with Fox News closes another chapter in our efforts to mourn the murder of our beloved Seth, whom we miss every single day... We are pleased with the settlement of this matter & sincerely hope the media will take genuine caution in the future"
No public apology and no financial or other details offered.

Fox News statement: "We are pleased with the resolution of the claims and hope this enables Mr. and Mrs. Rich to find a small degree of peace and solace moving forward.”
Read 8 tweets
9 Oct 20
Here's a little fun fact about the imbroglio at the Voice of America

USAGM CEO Michael Pack has justified turning the agency upside down by invoking the Q of security clearances and possible espionage / con't
Pack has not publicly specified any harm.

To Federalist, he said, “To be a journalist is a great cover for a spy – famous journalists like Kim Philby who worked for the BBC… It’s just a great cover. And from the beginning of the Cold War, even earlier, they’ve been penetrated."
Leave aside that the example of Philby is three generations old. Leave aside that I can't find evidence online that Philby worked for the BBC, though he did act as a reporter.

The problem of Philby wasn't that he penetrated the press. It was that he reached elite ranks of MI6!
Read 5 tweets
5 Oct 20
Thread: It may seem like some quaint vestige of a time gone by.

But let me spell out why I think developments at the Voice of America and its parent agency are important to track, even as so many crises are unfolding before our eyes. /cont

My latest:…
The VOA reaches 280MM+ people abroad each week. It provides a service for lands that don't have a free press and serves as a symbol of American political liberty & open debate by covering all sides.

Staffers tell me its credibility is being damaged by its CEO, appointed by Trump
Trump & WH routinely seek to thwart flow of independent information.

Right now, a key part of the WH crisis is credibility: can you trust what it says on the pandemic, on Trump's own health, on the economy & so on.
Read 12 tweets
31 Aug 20
NEWS: 14 veteran journalists at the Voice of America send letter of protest against Trump's appointee as parent agency's CEO, Michael Pack, saying he is harming US aims and imperiling its reporters / more

My story:…
Pack's comments and decisions "endanger the personal security of VOA reporters at home and abroad, as well as threatening to harm U.S. national security objectives," the letter to VOA Acting Director Elez Biberaj reads. / more
The protest came after a long line of sweeping changes and purges at the federally funded networks overseen by Pack. But it was triggered by interview Pack gave to conservative site the Federalist.

"It's a great pace to put a foreign spy," Pack said/ MORE
Read 5 tweets

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