At Voice of America, a sweeping ouster of Trump officials on Biden’s first full day
President Joe Biden moved swiftly to oust top managers loyal to President Donald Trump who had been blamed for recent turmoil at the federal government’s array of international news organizations, including the biggest and most influential one, the Voice of America.
Only hours after he was inaugurated, Biden forced out Michael Pack, the controversial head of the agency that oversees VOA and four other networks that broadcast news to millions of people abroad. This was followed, domino-like, on Thursday by the removal of VOA’s director and deputy director after only a few weeks on the job.
In doing so, Biden appears to be putting the brakes on what critics said was an effort by the Trump administration to turn the news agencies into mouthpieces for Trump’s views and policies.
The federal government spends $637 million annually to support the five news networks – VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Middle East Broadcasting, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and Radio Free Asia. The agencies were established by Congress as an extension of American “soft power,” although the news and commentary they produce is by regulation independent of government or political control.