“The last six months have perhaps been the most challenging period in VOA’s recent history,” he wrote. “Regrettably, this period was characterized by an adversarial relationship between VOA and USAGM. Some agency officials failed to respect rules, protocols and processes that I considered inviolable, and displayed an indifference to the disruptive impact their actions and decisions had on VOA’s operations and mission.”
It’s not just managerial disruption. “Attempts to trample VOA’s journalistic independence threatened to undermine our hard-won credibility at a time of global democratic backsliding and increased international threats to America’s values and moral leadership.”
Those threats include an effort to kill off the military newspaper Stars & Stripes and an attack by political appointees on an experienced VOA reporter for insufficient loyalty to Trump. And now: Robert Reilly. But don’t for a minute think that the elevation of a bigot like Reilly is specific to Trump—he was previously the director of VOA under George W. Bush.
When Joe Biden is inaugurated, he’ll easily be able to replace Pack as the head of the Agency for Global Media, but replacing Reilly may actually be more difficult because of provisions the House put in the defense spending bill to rein in Pack’s abuses. Go figure.