The Death of Democracy at USAGM, says Michael Pack

USAGM CEO Michael Pack.

The death of democracy at USAGM is claimed by former U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack.

USAGM Watch Media Commentary

In a Washington Examiner op-ed, former Trump-appointed U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack says that the death of democracy at USAGM happened when he tried to address violations of U.S. law at the Voice of America. The taxpayer-funded Voice of America is governed by the VOA Charter, a bipartisan congressional declaration which has the power of U.S. law. Pack wrote that his critics falsely accused him of the transgressions he was trying to eliminate.

My goal, my only goal, was to return the news services to their legally mandated mission: to report news that is “accurate, objective, and comprehensive” (in the words of the VOA charter, which is U.S. law), and to promote American ideals like democracy and human rights around the world. In this modest, nonpartisan goal, I was doomed from the start. The USAGM permanent bureaucracy was ready to undermine every move of my administration, with the help of their allies in the media, Congress, and the courts, as well as pro bono lawyers. After all, they had been preparing for years while my nomination languished.

READ MORE: The death of democracy, Michael Pack, Washington Examiner, November 15, 2021

Pack concluded that “If a large majority of the people forcefully demand change and reflect this at the ballot box in a clear mandate, then and only then reform can come.”

Michael Pack resigned on January 20, 2021 after being informed by the Biden Administration that he would be removed. President Biden designated longtime USAGM manager Kelu Chao as acting CEO and former president of Middle East Broadcasting Networks Brian Conniff as deputy director. Kelu Chao immediately fired Pack appointees. Robert Reilly was removed as VOA director, and Yolanda López was named as acting director. Deputy VOA director Elizabeth Robbins appointed under Pack was also relieved of her duties. Kelu Chao also fired heads of USAGM non-federal networks appointed by Pack.

On November 12, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate former VOA director Amanda Bennett for Chief Executive Officer at the United States Agency for Global Media.

ALSO READ: Criticism of Amanda Bennett by Immigrants Ignored by Biden in Proposing Her for USAGM CEO, USAGM Watch Commentary, November 12, 2021.