Trump May Already Have His Very Own Trump TV - Courtesy of the Taxpayers

Back in the halcyon days of October, when Donald Trump was not yet President Elect, many outlets were speculating that his post election life would involve starting Trump TV, a propaganda machine that would make Fox News look objective. Oh how little we knew. Fast Forward a couple of months and now, not only does Trump have the presidency, but he stands to inherit a media network, a "newly empowered Voice of America," Politico reports, "that  some officials fear could serve as an unfettered propaganda arm for the former reality TV star who has flirted for years with launching his own network."

While many Americans under 40 may not have heard of it, Voice of America, a the government-funded media news source that serves as the United States's official external broadcasting arm all over the world. It was started in 1947 as a way of combating Nazism and anti-American propaganda around the world, particularly in Russia. Two divisions, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, were essential for broadcasting "Samizdat" or, as a Hoover report explains, "self-published literature considered seditious by the Soviet government and other communist regimes." It was part of what brought the Soviet Union down altogether, and his continued to serve as an invaluable source of information in countries that censor media and internet access.

In recent years, Voice of America and all of its divisions struggled, as BoingBoing notes, "to keep pace with other nations' superpower foreign broadcasters, like Russia Today and Al Jazeera. In response to that, congressman Ed Royce included legislation, buried on page 1404 of the National Defense Authorization Act that would break up the formerly bipartisan Board of Governors, the independent U.S. agency that includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcast Networks, and instead concentrates power in the hands of a CEO appointed by the president. Politico continues, "That change, combined with a 2013 legislative revision that allows the network to legally reach a U.S. audience, which was once banned, could pave the way for Trump-approved content created by the U.S. diplomacy arm, if he chooses to exploit the opportunity." 

Trump, who can never resist exploitation, would likely not pass it up. Even if he did however, Steve Bannon, his Chief Strategist, would gladly take charge. Politico spoke with a a Republican government official, who wished to remain anonymous but is familiar with the agency and "warned that abolishing the board will make it susceptible to the influence of Trump’s allies, including his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who ran Breitbart News before joining Trump’s campaign." The official continued: 

"There’s some fear among the folks here, that the firewall will get diminished and attacked and this could fall victim to propaganda," the Republican official said. "They will hire the person they want, the current CEO does not stand a chance. This will pop up on Steve Bannon’s radar quickly. They are going to put a friendly person in that job.”

With that friendly person in power, they "could penetrate established media outlets with packages, series or other news products produced by the BBG’s networks but picked up and aired by traditional media like Fox News or Breitbart. Many U.S. outlets currently use content from VOA." And it wouldn't even have an effect on the national budget, no Trump's own pockets. He's being handed a ready-made propoganda arm. One VOA staffer told Politico, "On Jan. 21 we’ll have welcoming ceremony for our next CEO, who could be Steve Bannon, or Laura Ingraham or Ann Coulter."


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