Thursday, June 1, 2017

White House eyes Bannon ally for top broadcasting post

Hadas Gold,

With sweeping new powers, the position would oversee public media reaching 100 countries.

Image from article, with caption: Bannon and Pack, a former Corporation for Public Broadcasting executive, are mutual admirers and worked on two documentaries together.

The Trump administration’s leading candidate to head the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a position that with recent changes would give the appointee unilateral power over the United States’ government messaging abroad reaching millions, is a conservative documentarian with ties to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

Michael Pack, the leading contender for the post, is president and CEO of the Claremont Institute and publisher of its Claremont Review of Books, a California-based conservative institute that has been called the “academic home of Trumpism” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Pack, a former Corporation for Public Broadcasting executive, and Bannon are mutual admirers and have worked on two documentaries together. Pack has appeared on Bannon’s radio show and wrote an op-ed in March praising Bannon as a pioneer in conservative documentary filmmaking.

Should he be appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate, Pack would be the first CEO of the BBG without a board as a firewall because of a little-noticed provision in last December's National Defense Authorization Act that disbanded the bipartisan board that controls the BBG.

“The White House could theoretically use the BBG for any kind of messaging,” one senior government official with direct knowledge of the situation said. “People are generally worried about what might happen next because it would change the nature of BBG from having a CEO and a board and a track record for protecting independence to what might come next."

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