Unions Labor to Improve VOA
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Helle Dale's column, "Forgotten freedom" (Op-Ed, Wednesday), concerning the state of U.S. public diplomacy, is almost completely on target.
We are finding out that there is no such thing as a "peace dividend." In a world in which the distinctions between the haves and the have-nots are growing by the minute, so too is the fertile ground for resentment, anger and violence. With individuals willing to bankroll terrorist organizations to carry out violent acts, the world is still a dangerous place for Americans.
Mrs. Dale is also on target when it comes to the dysfunctional state of the U.S. government's public diplomacy apparatus. The blame for this is not just errant legislation of the past. It is a reflection of the actions of the part-time Broadcasting Board of Governors, a group of political appointees, which has become a full-time problem.
The board, which supervises the Voice of America and its surrogate radio services, has skirted the VOA charter by creating unnecessary and expensive special projects that have proven to have little effectiveness in explaining U.S. foreign policy to international listeners.
Playing pop music for a youthful audience and calling it "marrying the mission to the market" is ludicrous to the point of being derelict.
Indeed, what has happened is that the board has failed to counter anti-Americanism by refusing to explain U.S. foreign policy and refusing to broadcast programs with actual substance. Coupled with the cutbacks in U.S. libraries and former U.S. Information Agency tours and exhibits, this has created a crisis. …