'Old white guys' – National Review links to BBG Watch discrimination and mismanagement story

“Old White Guys” – The Open Season is On

The “old white guys” comment attributed to a former CNN associate of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson will just not go away. Nor should it until officials who make such comments are forever banned from U.S. international broadcasting.

Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor of National Review, has linked his recent “Impromptus” column to the BBG Watch story. Nordlinger does not focus on the BBG, but his commentary deals with people who make broad charges based on race, age, and gender.

Interestingly, Nordlinger mentions John O’Sullivan, “who is just leaving Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.” Could O’Sullivan be one of those “old white guys” being pushed out from U.S. international broadcasting prior to the proposed merger and de-federalization so that former CNN executives can give high paying BBG jobs to other former CNN employees and to promote their favorites?

BBG Watch thinks this is exactly what’s going on and we have facts and documents to prove it: BBG executives who have developed the merger/privatization plan are already treating U.S. international broadcasting as their personal fiefdom.

Brazen sexist and racist comments go unpunished, broadcasts to strategically important countries and regions are being cut (China, Russia) while BBG executives give themselves $10,000 bonuses on top of their $170,000 salaries, plans are developed to bureaucratize the surrogate broadcasters and to undermine their independence and effectiveness, and the Voice of America’s unique claim to represent the views and values of the American people and the American government is being threatened by a corporate privatization at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

BBG executives will no doubt claim on Capitol Hill that their plans and actions are designed to save money and to make U.S. international broadcasting more effective. As to saving money, we hope no one in Congress is foolish enough to believe such claims. They will hire more of their friends and associates and give money to private contractors whom they know because there would be less scrutiny, less transparency and less accountability. U.S. international broadcasting will no longer belong to the American people. The BBG might as well remove the U.S. from their agency’s name.

As to the effectiveness, perhaps if you think that CNN International should be the standard of U.S. public diplomacy, then you might get your wish. Those of us who have lived abroad and watched CNN International think that it is one of the reasons the world needs the Voice of America. To correct the anti-American bias.

As for the “old white guys” of U.S. international broadcasting — don’t count on the Broadcasting Board of Governors to protect you. Some BBG members reportedly wanted to fire the executive who made the offensive comment but in the end they did not get the majority to support them. No doubt employment anti-discrimination lawsuits will follow and the BBG would have no choice but to settle them because of the “old white guys” comment and other examples of discriminatory behavior, with the American taxpayers picking up the tab.

While we are still checking out some details, sources have told BBG Watch that the official who made the “old white guys” comment is a lawyer by training. This certainly adds insult to injury. He must have not been practicing law in the United States for quite some time. We are also told that the BBG paid thousands of dollars to a recruiting firm and by some strange coincidence the firm found a former CNN associate of the BBG Chairman.

If this is the best CNN talent they can get as managers to be in charge of the merged and privatized future corporate BBG entity, then U.S. international broadcasting is indeed in big trouble — that is true whether there is a merger/privatization or not. David Ensor, the new Voice of America director, who is a former CNN correspondent, seems to be an exception and is being praised by some for his independent leadership, but it remains to be seen how far he can go against the BBG bureaucrats who still seem to have Isaacson’s ear when he can get away from promoting his recently published biography of Steve Jobs. BBG’s senior Republican member Victor Ashe is waging a lonely fight against mismanagement and corruption. At least for now, however, the open season for “old white guys” at the Broadcasting Board of Governors seems to be still on.

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