Trump’s hires are sabotaging Voice of America and transforming its journalism

Also, if you believe some of the staunch Republicans who Pack has booted out of the way, in this quest to do what is most certainly not his job, he appears to be slightly off his rocker.

NPR reports the discovery of a specific case of Pack-Dewey interference in the news, the “formal review” of an Urdu-language story about Biden’s outreach to Muslims. (“Typically such reviews would be conducted by journalists well versed in the profession’s standards and ethics,” notes NPR. Dewey ain’t that. Dewey is a Trump partisan.) Left unmolested by investigations, however, was a Spanish-language story featuring a Trump campaign adviser “warning Latinos against voting for Biden.” And Dewey has “repeatedly pushed to participate in planning for election reporting and overarching news coverage.”

Beyond the specific example of Pack and Dewey doing the exact thing critics were pretty darn sure they were going to do, which is repurposing Voice of America as a pro-Trump platform through a campaign of simply removing anyone who objects, NPR’s report has a few eye-catching details to it. It reports that Pack, who has already “fired or suspended most of the executive staff,” has been starving the networks by blocking the approval of their normal budgets and refusing to grant visa extensions to foreign employees—potentially forcing them to return to countries with governments with grudges against their U.S. networks.

It also notes that many of the people Pack has removed themselves had “sterling conservative credentials,” with stints working for prominent Republican lawmakers or under George W. Bush.

The overriding theme of all this, in fact, is that Pack’s bulldozing of the agency is based on personal, rather than ideological obsessions. NPR’s sources say Pack “openly broods over questions of loyalty.” Ex-USAGM CEO Grant Turner directly calls Pack “paranoid.”

So there’s your answer, America. It turns out that Trump’s new hires are doing more damage to Voice of America and other U.S. broadcasting networks than even critics had expected, not only reaching directly down into journalistic decision-making but willingly sabotaging even basic network operations. And the reason is the familiar one: Trump’s team looked for unqualified hacks, people who “brood” over government workers’ loyalty to Dear Leader, are “paranoid” about the same, and who treat each department and agency as their own personal fiefdom, to be upended and dismantled according to personal whim.

Fascism is, at heart, governance by loyal incompetents. Trump hires according to loyalty; Trump’s hires are free to wreck anything and everything, so long as the loyalty part does not waver.

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