Though Trump’s recent executive orders speak loudly about his dangerous priorities, he may literally speak to the world through the federally-funded international broadcaster Voice of America (in more than just the usual 140 characters he’s used to communicating in). From Politico:
President Donald Trump on Monday dispatched two aides to scope out the studios of Voice of America, heightening concerns among some longtime staffers that Trump may quickly put his stamp on the broadcasting arm that has long pushed U.S. democratic ideals across the world.
In an article from last December, NPR reported on recent changes to the governing structure of Voice of America, and the fact that VoA can aim its broadcasts into the US:
For decades, the international U.S. broadcasters were not allowed to present their programs to the United States, but that ban was lifted in 2013, accentuating the concerns of what a Trump administration might bring.
Though the director of VoA told Politco that the broadcaster isn’t “being manipulated by Trump,” Talking Points Memo notes:
Trump’s decision to dispatch aides to the Broadcasting Board of Governors also comes after Voice of America came under fire for tweets about White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s Saturday press conference during which he made false claims about the size of inauguration crowds.
The outlet initially published tweets quoting Spicer’s claims about crowd size without any context, prompting swift backlash. Voice of America then deleted one of the tweets and ran a story fact-checking Spicer’s claims.
And MSNBC reminds us about Bush’s use of VoA and asks: “Now, it’s a brand new Republican administration, led by someone with a keen interest in media. What could possibly go wrong?”