New Conservative Media Chief Dismisses Heads of U.S.-Funded News Outlets
By Edward Wong
The moves by Michael Pack, a Trump administration appointee, raised concerns that the news organizations would become partisan.
• Published June 17, 2020 Updated June 18, 2020, 12:51 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — A conservative filmmaker who recently took over a United States global media agency removed the chiefs of four news organizations under its purview on Wednesday night, according to people with knowledge of the decision, in an action that raises questions about their editorial independence.
The filmmaker, Michael Pack, also dismissed the head of a technology group and disbanded the bipartisan board that helps oversee and advise those five organizations. He replaced its members largely with Trump administration political appointees, including himself as chairman. One board member works for a conservative advocacy organization, Liberty Counsel Action.
The moves were criticized by congressional officials, including a leading Democratic senator, and former diplomats as an effort to turn the news organizations under the United States Agency for Global Media into partisan outlets. The organizations receive funding from the American government but operate independently.
Mr. Pack is a close ally of Stephen K. Bannon, the former campaign strategist and White House adviser to President Trump who has urged Mr. Trump to take charge of the news organizations and reshape them to his purposes. Democrats in the Senate held up Mr. Pack’s nomination for years, but Mr. Trump urged Republicans in recent weeks to push through the confirmation. <//>