USAGM Watch Commentary
Dan Robinson, who retired in 2014 after 34 years with the Voice of America, responded to the Washington Post editorial about the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) international operations by pointing out that “former Voice of America director Amanda Bennett, who was present during some of the worst dysfunctions at Voice of America and the U.S. Agency for Global Media, before Trump administration managers were present, was nominated to and awaits Senate confirmation to head the same agency.”
This is a familiar game in Washington. USAGM — an agency that arguably should have been thoroughly reorganized and slimmed down years ago — lobbies Congress in times of crisis and manages to coax lawmakers to shovel additional millions of taxpayer dollars to it.Dan Robinson, Letters to the Editor, The Washington Post, “Opinion: The government’s anti-disinformation efforts should be consolidated,” March 27, 2022.
Robinson may have been responding to the Washington Post Editorial Board’s assertion that “President Biden wisely [Emphasis added] nominated a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Amanda Bennett, former director of Voice of America, to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media in the aftermath of the destructive politicization wrought by the Trump administration.”
The Washington Post March 22, 2022 editorial, “Opinion: These radio stations are far from obsolete. They’re vital,” also noted:
In the recent omnibus spending bill, Congress gave RFA a 30 percent increase, lifting its annual budget to $62.6 million, and RFE/RL a 15 percent increase to $145 million. This is a welcome vote of confidence, none too soon, given that both Russia and China, as well as many smaller nations, are slamming the door on independent news and information, imposing restrictions on digital and broadcast channels, demanding obedience of the news media, policing social media, and imprisoning journalists.The Washington Post, “The Post’s View,” Opinion: These radio stations are far from obsolete. They’re vital. By Editorial Board, March 22, 2022.
Robinson appears to advocate for more robust congressional oversight and saving of taxpayers’ money by consolidating programs to counter propaganda by such countries as China and Russia.
The editorial should prompt readers to do more checking on exactly what other federal government entities are doing and duplication of effort.Dan Robinson, Letters to the Editor, The Washington Post, “Opinion: The government’s anti-disinformation efforts should be consolidated,” March 27, 2022.
In his volunteer work as an independent journalist, Dan Robinson reported on and commented on the unprecedented level of dysfunction and scandals during Amanda Bennett’s tenure as VOA Director.
In addition to his assignment as senior White House correspondent from 2010 to 2014, he served as bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya and Bangkok, Thailand. He was also the chief of the VOA Burmese Service and the Capitol Hill correspondent.
Robinson is highly respected by his former VOA colleagues and current VOA journalists. He expressed his support for Joe Biden during the 2020 U.S. presidential election campaign, but his reporting and commentary on USAGM issues is non-partisan and critical of failing agency leaders regardless of their party affiliations.