Tags: Donald Trump | trump | aides | voice of america | concerns

Trump Aides Heighten Concerns at Voice of America

Image: Trump Aides Heighten Concerns at Voice of America

President Donald Trump (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 12:02 PM

President Donald Trump sent two political operatives from his campaign to the studios of the broadcasting agency that includes Voice of America, which has led to concern among staffers that the agency could turn into a propaganda arm for the president, according to Politico.

The president's aides will look at the management and the studios of Voice of America, which is funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which also runs Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

Trump's New Hampshire state director Matthew Ciepielowski and Wisconsin communications director Matthew Schuck will work temporarily with the agency on the transition to the Trump administration, Politico reports.

"There's concern among the journalists about what these guys are going to be doing. People are hanging tight, seeing what will happen," a senior Voice of America staffer told Politico.

Followers of Voice of America on Twitter criticized the agency for a tweet that noted White House press secretary Sean Spicer's statement about the size of Trump's inauguration audience, without fact-checking the statement. Voice of America director Amanda Bennett pulled the tweet after the criticism, which included comments calling Voice of America "pure propaganda."

Bennett said the Trump administration did not order her to remove the tweet. "I know that everyone is looking to say that we're being manipulated by the Trump administration. We're absolutely not," Bennett said in a phone conversation with Politico.

The director said that Voice of America would not change course for the Trump administration. She pointed out that the agency had been through presidential transitions before, including in 2009, when former President Barack Obama sent officials to the studios when he took office.

The agency was created in 1942 to spread news to counteract Nazi and Japanese propaganda. After that, it became a more traditional news organization. Today, it broadcasts in 41 languages, according to the Voice of America website.

A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act in December 2016 ramped up concerns; it disbanded the bipartisan board of directors that supervised Voice of America. Control of the agency will now be under a CEO that the president appoints, Politico reported in December.

The board's status appears uncertain, since Obama added a statement to the defense bill that said removing the board would violate his constitutional right of appointment, according to Politico.

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President Donald Trump sent two political operatives from his campaign to the studios of the broadcasting agency that includes Voice of America, which has led to concern among staffers that the agency could turn into a propaganda arm for the president, according to Politico.
trump, aides, voice of america, concerns
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2017-02-24
Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 12:02 PM
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