Source: U.S. Senate
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty leaders blew up the Trump-appointed CEO of the US Federal Media Agency.
In a letter received from CNBC, those responsible for the network criticized Michael Pack, the head of the US agency for global media. Radio-Free Europe / Radio Liberty is considered a non-federal broadcasting network, but is affiliated with the USAGM.
He has disrupted the ranks of the agency and the leadership of its networks, placing other loyalists to President Donald Trump in key roles.
The letter contains criticism of the board members of Pack, who later approved Ted Lipien as CEO of Radio Free Europe.
"Despite many years of practice, you have appointed a body of inexperienced partisans who have neither industry nor regional expertise – a body that you yourself have referred to as a placeholder body and that you obviously want to establish for two or more years." The letter reads.
"They used this forum to round up Ted Lipien, an untested, untested candidate with a history of often one-page writing about RFE / RL and other US international broadcasters," it said.
The Associated Press reported that Lipien, a former Voice of America representative, recently posted a blog post promoting the views of employees who have objected to what they call alleged liberal bias and a lack of considered conservative views in their programming. Voice of America falls under USAGM's purview.
The letter was signed by members of the news and editorial team of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, including the editor-in-chief and the heads of digital strategy. The letter is dated Wednesday and was also sent to congressional officials such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Pack returned the letter in a statement to CNBC.
"Ms. Sindelar's letter is full of inaccuracies. There have been no attempts to endanger the [network] freedom of political influence." On the contrary, all of the actions I have taken were based on my congressional responsibility and commitment to fulfilling the USAGM's mission, "said Pack.
The letter notes that Pack is unlikely to keep his job after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Still, the letter suggests that the editorial managers believe that Pack is still bringing in new leaders anyway.
"We consider these moves to be an eleventh hour to secure RFE / RL for a single US political party at a time when your term as CEO of US Outbound Broadcasting is likely to end with the transition between administrations in Washington." The news leaders wrote.
Pack, who has been at the helm of USAGM since June, has been criticized after repeatedly cleaning up longstanding executives in various networks of the agency.
Shortly after ratification by the U.S. Senate, Pack ousted the agency's heads and board members to appoint those directly linked to Trump.
USAGM and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty representatives have not returned requests for comment.