Donald Trump sends two aides to Voice of America studios, raising fears he's going to politicize the outlet

President Trump's recent actions with VOA are raising red flags about his agenda there

Published January 24, 2017 2:30PM (EST)

President-elect Donald Trump, left, and his wife Melania Trump arrive to the "Make America Great Again Welcome Concert" at the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)
President-elect Donald Trump, left, and his wife Melania Trump arrive to the "Make America Great Again Welcome Concert" at the Lincoln Memorial, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

President Donald Trump "temporarily assigned" two Republican political operatives to the headquarters of Voice of America on Monday, raising concerns that he plans on transforming the network into a site for pro-Trump propaganda.

Matthew Ciepielowski and Matthew Schuck, who worked for the Trump campaign in New Hampshire and Wisconsin respectively, were sent to the studios of the Broadcasting Board of Governors "to ensure an open, transparent and seamless transition of the BBG to the Trump Administration," according to an email by CEO John F. Lansing published by Politico on Monday. Although Voice of America is subsidized by the American government, it has traditionally remained nonpartisan and instead focused on extolling the virtues of America-style democracy both in this country and throughout the world.

This isn't the first time that the Trump administration's plans with Voice of America have caused concern. On Saturday the site raised eyebrows when it sent out a series of tweets (one of which it later deleted) about Press Secretary Sean Spicer's first White House press conference that seemed to implicitly agree with his dishonest characterization of Trump's inauguration turnout.

Because Congress has eliminated the VOA's independent board of directors and replaced them with a single CEO appointed by the president, Trump could very easily transform the VOA into an outlet that promotes the "alternative facts" most convenient to his agenda. Schuck was a staff writer for the Daily Surge, an unabashedly right-wing website, until April 2015.

This may be the latest salvo in the Trump team's "long-running war with the media."

 


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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