Biden Fires Steve Bannon Protege, Who Tried To Turn Voice Of America Into A New Breitbart

from the and-he-whines-about-partisanship-on-the-way-out dept

Last summer we covered how Trump had hired Michael Pack, a protégé of Steve Bannon, to run US Agency for Global Media. USAGM is the organization that runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting. It also runs the Open Technology Fund (which itself spun out of Radio Free Europe, and helped to fund a variety of important technologies for enabling free speech among dissidents and activists). It was clear from the beginning that Pack's plan was to (a) recraft the media organizations to be propaganda machines and (b) shift OTF's funding to some organizations with security/encryption techniques that were not widely trusted. Pack fired a bunch of people in a move that a court later rejected, noting that Pack did not have the authority to do so.

He also began a witch hunt at Voice of America, seeking to investigate journalists for "anti-Trump bias" and get rid of them. A reporter who asked a perfectly reasonable question to Mike Pompeo was reassigned.

As we pointed out, this kind of meddling, beyond likely breaking the law, was also doing tremendous damage to the credibility of these organizations, and certainly to the important technical work that OTF funds.

So it was good to see that one of Biden's first moves upon getting into office was to demand Pack's resignation and also to shuffle the leadership at Voice of America.

In an act of true projection, on the way out the door Pack whined about how being fired was a partisan act and would harm credibility. This is all bullshit. From day one, Pack was a partisan hack who tried to turn Voice of America into a pro-Trump media organization.

Whether or not people like or appreciate the work that USAGM and its various organizations do, there is no doubt that Pack's efforts harmed those organizations' credibility. Good riddance.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: joe biden, michael pack, otf, partisanship, propaganda, steve bannon, usagm, voice of america
Companies: otf, usagm, voice of america


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. icon
    bhull242 (profile), 23 Jan 2021 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: 'Those are only acceptable when we do them!'

    Nope. They observed that Russians attempted to interfere in the election using hacks, leaks, and disinformation campaigns, and that those attempts tried to get Trump elected. They also observed that Trump, his campaign, and his administration were very cavalier about the whole thing and lied about a number of contacts with Russians during the campaign. A Trump-appointed cabinet member then appointed a Republican former FBI head to head a special investigation into the matter. There were some calls for impeachment around this point, but some were from Republican officials and none went anywhere.

    That investigation found that Russia had in fact made the attempt to interfere in the election, that a number of Trump’s associates had done some illegal things during and after the election (who they prosecuted or got guilty pleas from), and was inconclusive on whether or not and to what extent Trump was personally aware of or involved in these matters, but that he had obstructed justice, though as President the only recourse was for Congress to impeach him. Although several Democrats wanted to impeach Trump over the obstruction-of-justice charges, no actual attempt was made to do so.

    Then, more than 3 years into Trump’s presidency, after learning about a call to Ukraine where Trump tried to force Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden’s son while Biden was running against him, the House began proceedings towards impeaching him based solely on that and not anything that happened prior to that, but after he was formally impeached and the case was sent to the Senate for a trial, the Senate ruled to acquit him along party lines with the exception of Mitt Romney, who voted to convict.

    It’s worth noting that impeaching a President is not “attempting to overturn an election” unless it is based entirely on trumped-up charges, which this was not. There were no claims that the transcript of the call was false, that the witnesses were lying, or that the alleged conduct was proper (well, except for Trump claiming it was “the perfect call”, but even most Republicans thought the call was improper behavior; they just didn’t think he should be impeached/removed from office over it).

    At no point did Democratic politicians claim that the election was rigged, claim that there was widespread election or voter fraud, try to contest the election results, election process, certification process, or selection of electors in court, try to get state legislatures to appoint a slate of electors contrary to the election results, try to contest the electoral college vote results, interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote, claim that Trump’s victory or presidency was illegitimate, consider imposing martial law to redo the election or something like that, or force their way into a government building that they were not allowed to enter while government officials were inside on official business and while carrying weapons and flex-cuffs and bombs and proceed to kill a police officer, steal government property, break doors and windows (among other things), leave bombs at DNC and RNC HQs, threaten to kill government officials, search through government officials’ documents for “something good we can use”, or any of that crap.

    Now, it is true that many people (including Democrats) were unhappy with the results of the 2016 election, that there were two faithless electors in that election who chose to not vote for Trump, that people (including Democrats) alleged that Russia at least attempted to interfere with the election (because it was true, even if how much of an effect it had is debatable), that some Democrats who were not in government (incorrectly) thought that the Russians had hacked the voting machines to give Trump the victory (though this never had much traction and no mainstream media source or Democratic official claimed that), that many people (including Democrats) protested Trump’s victory and/or actions as President (though these protests were almost entirely peaceful and never involved storming a government building), that some Democratic officials (and some Republican officials) called for Trump’s impeachment a few months into his presidency (though, again, nothing actually happened until more than halfway through his third year), that a lot of Democrats pointed out that despite Trump winning in the electoral college he had lost the popular vote by millions of votes, and that a lot of Democrats wanted Trump’s presidency to end early.

    However, none of this means that Democrats spent four years trying to overturn the 2016 election.


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.