The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe played key roles in opposing Communist oppression during the Cold War (AP Photo/File)
The U.S. Senate is poised to finally confirm President Trump’s nominee for CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), best known for the Voice of America (VOA). The president originally nominated Michael Pack in 2018, but he’s faced partisan opposition in the Senate ever since.
Mr. Pack is an award-winning filmmaker, former Senior Vice President for Television Programming at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and a former member of the National Council on the Humanities. He is perfectly qualified to lead USAGM to reach the oppressed of the world with messages of liberty and truth.
Until now, the agency has been run by ideological Obama holdovers who, in the words of the White House, “spend your money to promote foreign propaganda.”
From broadcasting Chinese lies about the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s coronavirus, to repeating Iranian propaganda, and all the way to pulling the plug on a live interview with a Chinese whistleblower, the Voice of America, under the continuing Obama-era leadership, is empowering tyranny rather than doing its job: promoting liberty, telling the American story, bringing true news to oppressed people, and countering foreign propaganda. The website BBG Watch documents a great many examples of USAGM’s bowing to foreign tyrants.
The leadership of USAGM betrayed the oppressed people of the world.
From the White House’s scathing report of April 10:
Journalists should report the facts, but VOA has instead amplified Beijing’s propaganda. This week, VOA called China’s Wuhan lockdown a successful “model” copied by much of the world—and then tweeted out video of the Communist government’s celebratory light show marking the quarantine’s alleged end.
Even worse, while much of the U.S. media takes its lead from China, VOA went one step further: It created graphics with Communist government statistics to compare China’s Coronavirus death toll to America’s. As intelligence experts point out, there is simply no way to verify the accuracy of China’s numbers.
The Coronavirus story is just one example of this pattern. Last year, VOA helped highlight the Twitter feed of Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while he was issuing threats against the U.S. and sharing Russian anti-U.S. propaganda videos.
President Trump protested the roadblock in the Senate during his April 15 2020 White House press briefing:
An example is Michael Pack. He’s my nominee for the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. And he’s been stuck in committee for two years, preventing us from managing the Voice of America. Very important.
And if you heard what’s coming out of the Voice of America, it’s disgusting. What things they say are disgusting toward our country. And Michael Pack would get in and he’d do a great job, but he’s been waiting now for two years. Can’t get him approved.”
It’s time to return VOA to its mission and role in promoting freedom. The Senate must confirm Mr. Pack as soon as possible so he may roll up his sleeves and restore the agency to communicating America’s message to the world, not the propaganda of the tyrants of the world.
Imagine living under tyranny. Your internet, if available at all, is heavily censored and entirely full of lies and propaganda in favor of the dictatorship and against the U.S. and against even the concept of freedom. Yet you secretly listen to VOA or one of it’s related ‘freedom radios’ for the truth about your nation and to learn about freedom and human rights–and the message that these rights aren’t just for others, but for you as well. The broadcasts would bring you hope and the reassurance you are not forgotten, just as earlier broadcasts gave hope to those behind the Iron Curtain. That’s the power of our international broadcasting.
Now imagine hearing your own dictator’s propaganda from VOA. That’s the sad reality today.
There’s a continuing and essential need for such freedom-oriented radio broadcasting. The battle between tyranny and liberty did not end with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire. Ronald Reagan said it best in his famous 1964 “A Time for Choosing” speech:
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.
Today’s battle between the free world and the tyrannies is led by Communist China, as well as Russia, Iran, North Korea and others. Survival of liberty is no more guaranteed today than it was during the Cold War, in fact it is worse today, for China has all the desires for world domination and to eliminate the beacon of liberty, the United States, as did the Soviet Union.
The difference today is that China, flush with the wealth of the world due to the surrender of worldwide manufacturing and even control of media to China, has built a military the Soviets could never afford and is violating international law in seizing the sovereign territories of many nations as well as international waters, and their goals include terrifying wars of conquest of Taiwan and other countries in the Pacific, and by 2049, achieving the global dominance and extinction of freedom that was always out of reach from the Soviets, the Nazis and earlier tyrants in history.
VOA and Radio Free Liberty played an essential part in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the near-bloodless collapse of the Soviet empire. In my 30th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall article at Epoch Times, I described the principle of ‘rising expectations’ that greatly contributed to the collapse. President Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech and VOA broadcasts nourished the flame of liberty, and inspired an unstoppable wave that softened the resolve of the regimes. Today, freed of the pro-tyranny leadership of the past decade and longer, VOA and the ‘freedom radios’ can return to their high purpose of keeping freedom alive around the world–to prevent a Chinese-led “thousand years of darkness.”
For the sake of the oppressed, let’s restore VOA and the ‘freedom radios’ to their true purpose with new leadership.
Art Harman has advocated for reform of the USAGM/Voice of America since 2013. He is the President of the Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration, a space advocacy organization supporting the return to the moon by 2024. He was the Legislative Director and foreign policy advisor for Rep. Stockman (R-Texas) in the 113th Congress, and is a veteran policy analyst and grass-roots political expert. His expertise includes foreign relations, border security/amnesty, national security, transportation, foreign broadcasting and NASA/space policy.
He has travelled the world and been behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet era, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, was arrested by the KGB, and stood in the footprints of those who sacrificed everything for freedom at Tiananmen Square.
Mr. Harman developed the strategy to kill the 2013 Senate “gang of eight” amnesty bill as violating the Constitution’s Origination Clause, and provided policy advice to the Trump campaign, transition and the White House. He wrote what became the ‘bible’ for post-Brexit trade relations which was introduced in 2016 by Sen. Mike Lee as S. 3123, the United Kingdom Trade Continuity Act, and he advised the Trump administration to return Americans to the Moon by 2024–now official policy. Harman is a frequent guest expert on radio shows on key policy issues, a filmmaker, and is an award-winning fine-arts photographer.