On June 16, the top two officials at the Voice of America resigned with the arrival of new Trump appointee Michael Pack as CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (see Top VOA Officials Resign as Michael Pack Assumes Charge as CEO of @USAGMgov).
On Wednesday evening, the news media reports the dismissal of the remaining heads of the four organizations under USAGM. OCB already has an interim director since 2018, and VOA was just vacated. For those unfamiliar with the agency, this used to be BBG prior to its “larger modernization effort” in August 2018.
The heads of four organizations overseen by the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) were all dismissed Wednesday night — a move likely to heighten concerns that new Trump-appointed CEO Michael Pack means to turn the agency into a political arm of the administration.
In what a former official described as a “Wednesday night massacre,” the heads of Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open Technology Fund were all ousted, multiple sources told CNN.
“They let go all of the heads of the networks. It’s unprecedented,” an agency source told CNN.
A source familiar with the situation said at least two of the removals — that of RFE/RL’s Jamie Fly and MBN’s Alberto Fernandez — were unexpected. The head of the Open Technology Fund, Libby Liu, had resigned effective July, but was still fired Wednesday evening, one of the sources said.
In addition, Jeffrey Shapiro, an ally the ultra-conservative former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, is expected to be named to lead the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
BREAKING: The heads of four organizations overseen by the US Agency for Global Media were dismissed tonight. A former official called it a "Wednesday night massacre." Full story by @jmhansler and 🙋♂️ https://t.co/9KaMimlLM3
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 18, 2020
SCOOP: Federal media chief Michael Pack has installed key Trump loyalists to leadership posts at the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a memo reviewed by CNBC says. He's also eliminated various board members who have been part of USAGM for years. https://t.co/lcx9qyqZgz
— Brian Schwartz (@schwartzbCNBC) June 17, 2020
Michael Pack, the new head of the US Agency for Global Media, sent an introductory email to his staff today, amid rumors he’ll be firing a bunch of career staffers. I obtained the text: https://t.co/VZsG7v05Qx
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) June 17, 2020
Proud of what we accomplished over the past three years at MBN, including at @alhurranews, humbled and honored to have worked with some great people, very talented journalists and writers in Springfield, Dubai, Beirut and throughout the region. 1/3
— Alberto Miguel Fernandez (@AlbertoMiguelF5) June 18, 2020
Chair of House Foreign Affairs Cttee, @RepEliotEngel has raised alarm over impending purge of career officials at US Agency for Global Media by its new Trump-appointed head, Michael Pack.
"Mr Pack needs to understand that USAGM is not the Ministry of Information." pic.twitter.com/PPkiaapgl5
— Julian Borger (@julianborger) June 17, 2020