Biden would fire Trump appointee leading US media agency for 'hijacking' outlet

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Iowa governor suggests immigrants partially to blame for rising COVID-19 cases Biden officials pledge to confront cybersecurity challenges head-on MORE would oust U.S. Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack if elected, the Biden campaign told Vox.

Pack, a conservative filmmaker, has come under fire since he took the reins of the agency last week. Critics have accused him of being a partisan operative attempting to turn the network, which oversees Voice of America, Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, into a propaganda shop.

“Michael Pack is decidedly unqualified,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told Vox, “and his actions risk hijacking invaluable, nonpartisan media institutions that stand up for fundamental American values like freedom and democracy in the world.”

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Following his Senate confirmation, Pack removed four top officials from the media organizations. Two top Voice of America (VOA) officials had previously resigned over his appointment.

Pack has also announced that Voice of America’s editorials will be more closely aligned with President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE’s views.

“Editorials are the only place in all of U.S. international broadcasting where administration policy, set by the president, is communicated directly in the name of the U.S. government to audiences abroad in various languages,” the agency said in a press release.

The president has reportedly previously expressed interest in creating a state-run media outlet, but former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, an ally of Pack’s, has said he told him in 2018, “You got one … it’s called Voice of America.”

Matt Armstrong, a former board member for the agency, told Vox Pack’s plans threaten to muddle the distinctions between VOA’s news and editorials.

“Abroad, we want a bright line between the two,” he said. “Blur that line and you step into the propaganda trap quite easily.”

A veteran VOA foreign correspondent who requested anonymity told the publication there was “increasing nervousness” at the outlet “but no panic yet as no fist has come through the firewall. But we do hear tapping noises.”