Published on
by

From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing's Glass House

John Lansing, now CEO of National Public Radio (NPR), talked about the operations of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees United States government-supported, civilian international news media such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti, and Alhurra. He explained how he planned to reshape U.S. media operations to better fit the current media environment, including how to address propaganda by countries such as Russia and China and stateless actors suc

John Lansing, now CEO of National Public Radio (NPR), talked about the operations of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees United States government-supported, civilian international news media such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti, and Alhurra. He explained how he planned to reshape U.S. media operations to better fit the current media environment, including how to address propaganda by countries such as Russia and China and stateless actors such as ISIL. (C-SPAN January 6, 2016)

I don’t know about you, but I take a teeny weeny bit of offense when a guy in a glass house lobs a great big stone and expects me not to notice the sound of shattering.

Which brings me to National Public Radio. When the ubiquitous news and public affairs network announced the appointment of a new CEO, it noted that John Lansing made his mark in his current job with “stirring defenses of journalism, free from government interference.”

This had me picking through the shards when they went on to explain that Lansing comes to NPR from the United States Agency for Global Media, a federally-funded organization whose express mission is to interfere in journalism by doing it, in such as way as to promote American policy values all across the world.

NPR’s new CEO story came with a picture of Lansing in his capacity as CEO of USAGM, testifying in Congress about the scourge of Russian media meddling. “The Russian government and other authoritarian regimes engage in far-reaching, malign influence campaigns,” he said.

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

No advertising; no paywalls: our content is free.

But our costs are real. Over 90% of the not-for-profit Common Dreams budget comes from reader support. If you're a regular reader—or maybe a new one—and you haven't yet pitched in, could you make a contribution today and help keep us going?

No amount is too large or too small. Please select a donation method:



The high dudgeon ill-suited a man who, as he spoke, oversaw an empire of federally-funded influence campaigns with origins in Cold War US psy-ops: The Voice of America, Radio y Televisión Martí, and Radio Free Europe, as well as Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Persia. According to Yasha Levine at Pando, when Lansing took the reins of this holding company, which was then called the Broadcasting Board of Governors, it had a budget of $721 million, reported directly to the Secretary of State, and was managed by a revolving crew of neocon and military think tank experts, including Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Recently, Lansing has been under criticism after scandals involving fake news and fleecing at Radio Martí—scandals he says he took action on. But it’s not the scandals, it’s the routine at the US media agency that makes Lansing’s stone-throwing so obnoxious. The propaganda past in Latin America, Cuba, Africa, and Cold War Europe is clear. In the Obama/Clinton years, Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe actively ginned up support for war against Putin’s Russia. Now, as the Intercept reported just last month, VOA Persia has become a Trump channel to vilify Iran.

Lansing’s not the first NPR director to come from VOA. Nor is he, of course, the first stale, pale male heading up an organization that claims it wants to move into the 21st Century. But jeez. The hypocrisy is hard to take. What next? A Morning Edition report on kettles being black?

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders is the award-winning host and executive producer of The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally-syndicated TV and radio program that looks at real-life models of shifting power in the arts, economics and politics. Flanders founded the women’s desk at media watch group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and produced and hosted the radio program CounterSpin for a decade. She is also the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species. Flanders was named Most Valuable Multi-Media Maker of 2018 in The Nation’s Progressive Honor Roll, and was awarded the Izzy Award in 2019 for outstanding achievement in independent media.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.

Please select a donation method:



Share This Article

More in:
,