National Security

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Mast Demands Taxpayer-Funded Voice Of America Stop ‘Carrying Water For The Left’

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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Republican Florida Rep. Brian Mast is sharing his concerns over left-leaning and biased coverage he says is being perpetuated by the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) and the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), according to a letter exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Mast, who serves as chair of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability, raised concerns over several incidents, including recent reports alleging two employees placed on leave from the agency in Russia promoted “pro-Putin propaganda,” according to the Thursday letter to USAGM CEO Amanda Bennett. USAGM, which oversees VOA, is a federal agency that oversees taxpayer-funded news outlets around the globe. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: There Are So Many Illegal Migrants Pouring Over The Border The Biden Admin Is Begging Journalists To Help Process Them)

Mast VOA Outgoing Letter by Daily Caller News Foundation

“VOA has a very clear responsibility – to be the Voice of America abroad, in countless countries where democracy and free press are not the norm. But lately they seem to be more focused on carrying water for the Left, even as autocracies like China and Russia pose huge threats [to] the United States and our allies. VOA needs to right the ship immediately,” Mast told the DCNF.

Mast is concerned that USAGM “shut down some of its traditional Chinese-language broadcasts, poured money into English-language ‘cultural studies’ of the United States, and appears increasingly top-heavy and bureaucratic,” according to the letter, after the Washington Times reported in August 2022 that VOA canceled its Chinese-speaking programs in Taiwan.

The Florida Republican also mentioned the agency’s coverage of Biden’s recent State of the Union Address that he said used “polarizing soundbites and pejorative characterizations” to characterize Republicans.

He noted VOA’s White House correspondent, Anita Powell, asking Karine Jean-Pierre in February if America is a “racist society” in the wake of the death of Tyre Nichols.

USAGM declined to comment on the letter itself, saying its “deeply appreciative of Congressional support and interest.”

“USAGM and its entities are focused on our mission of fact-based journalism, delivering reporting to over 410 million people each week in some of the world’s most closed information environments,” a USAGM spokesperson told the DCNF. “This unbiased coverage is a model for journalists, especially those operating under repressive regimes, around the world. USAGM fact-based reporting exports the best of American-style media to places where it doesn’t exist.”

VOA Spokesperson Jim Fry told the DCNF it takes concerns of credibility “seriously.”

“VOA produces fact-based journalism in 48 languages reaching an audience of 326 million people globally via web and social media, television and radio. Many in VOA’s audiences have few other options for the unbiased coverage VOA offers. As the VOA charter states, VOA presents “a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions,” Fry said.

This article has been updated with comment from Voice of America.

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