Trump’s new head of Global Media agency fires VOA director for political bias, more staff on chopping block

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President Donald Trump’s new head of Voice of America and its parent organization is making it clear there will be no straying from its mission to promote America’s image.

Just two months after taking charge of the US Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack sent a strong message to the global news agency which was founded during the Cold War, cleaning house and sending staff packing. Security clearances were suspended for several USAGM senior leaders who were put on leave over the hiring of foreign workers and, in a dramatic move, a VOA director was fired for airing a blatantly pro-Biden video.


(Source: YouTube)

Tabinda Naeem, digital managing director of the VOA’s Urdu language service, was placed on leave, according to the New York Post. He is facing possible termination of his job over the video which played like a campaign ad for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Four contractors who were also involved in the video were told Wednesday that their contracts will be terminated.

“We took action today to restore integrity to and respect for the rule of law in our work at USAGM. We will take additional steps to help return this agency to its glory days,” a spokesman for the USAGM told The Post, highlighting the contention by the agency and the president that there has been a marked departure from its mission to promote the U.S. globally in a non-partisan way.

The eyebrow-raising VOA Urdu clip, which was released last month, appeared as a campaign-style video, with Biden declaring at the start, “I will end the Muslim ban on Day One.”

The Democrat, who claims to be a practicing Catholic, also quoted the Muslim prophet Mohammad as Urdu language subtitles appeared on the bottom of the screen in the video which is part of the Million Muslim Voter Campaign.

“Make no mistake, people. 2020 is our year,” a narrator announced. “We can see clearly that America is fighting for its very soul… let’s do our part and join the largest Muslim voter mobilization in America.”

Trump critics and members of the “Squad,” Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) also appeared in the video with a jingle that declared “brown power!” The anti-semitic co-founder of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour is also seen in the two-minute video which aired on the taxpayer-funded platform.

Democrats and other critics were not happy when changes in leadership at USAGM were made by Trump, who has been critical of the VOA for losing sight of its mission. Naturally, the left complained that the agency would soon become the “voice of Trump” and sounded the alarms for Congress to intervene. Of course, it was actually former President Obama who put control of the USAGM in the hands of the executive branch.

Pack set off a liberal uproar when he began to drain the swamp after his appointment was confirmed by the Senate in June, dismissing the heads of Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Pack, a documentary filmmaker, served as the vice president of programming for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting under former President George W. Bush and co-chair of its International TV Council under former President Bill Clinton.

In addition to the VOA firings this week, there were apparently concerns about potential security violations in the hiring of foreign workers.

Pack told seven senior leaders of the USAGM in Washington, including USAGM General Counsel David Kligerman, Chief Financial Officer Grant Turner and executive director Oanh Tran, that their security clearances were suspended and they were put on leave.

“Under previous USAGM leaders, the agency took fingerprints but neglected to submit them to the appropriate investigative authorities – or, in other cases, failed to take fingerprints altogether,” a source told The Post. “It used aliases and fake social security numbers. It did not require foreign travel and foreign contacts to be disclosed. And in many cases, USAGM hired individuals who left their background and security forms blank.”

While liberals slam the Trump administration in pearl-clutching complaints over the VOA “purge,” Twitter users blasted the mishandling of taxpayer funds and blatant partisanship.

 

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Frieda Powers

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