President Donald Trump is making a new push to gain control of the Voice of America.
Politico noted the president and his aides began attacking VOA earlier this month.
An April 10 White House statement said: “VOA too often speaks for America’s adversaries — not its citizens.”
Politico said Trump is now demanding confirmation of conservative activist and filmmaker Michael Pack to head the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA. It said Pack is a close associate of Steven Bannon, former White House chief strategist.
Politico reported VOA’s coverage of the pandemic has sparked conservative discontent with the editorial focus under VOA’s director Amanda Bennett, wife of ex-Washington Post owner Donald Graham. Critics point to a VOA graphic citing China’s Communist Party stats that show a lower death toll from the coronavirus than in the U.S. as one example of biased reporting.
"VOA should be leading the charge in exposing the exact timeline of the lies of the CCP concerning human-to-human transmission and community spread,” Bannon said. “Instead, we get Amanda Bennett. She is a classic 'useful idiot' who kowtows to Beijing's Party Line.”
But Michael Freedman, president of the National Press Club, said: "Amanda is a respected journalist. When you're providing accurate and fair information, somebody is going to be unhappy with it."
Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez, D-N.J., in a letter to the White House, said that Pack’s nomination remains tainted by unanswered questions about possible self-dealing during his time at Claremont and unresolved issues with the Internal Revenue Service.
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