BBG Watch has learned that a top Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) executive has racked up $108,000 in travel expenses so far this year. Sources tell us that the official has no real responsibilities but likes to show up to take credit for the work already done by other BBG employees. According to one source, “he has no job that we know of, spends most of his time on the road. As far as I can tell, he has accomplished absolutely nothing. He often goes on travel and then meets his family in some exotic locale.” The same source reported that the BBG executive made a stop-over in Paris on a recent trip to Asia. BBG Watch has not identified the official.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is a federal agency which manages U.S. government-funded radio, TV, and Internet programs for audiences abroad. One of those broadcasters is the Voice of America (VOA). The Board’s chairman is Steve Job’s biographer Walter Isaacson who is under fire for helping to place a number of his former CNN associates in government jobs at the BBG. However, the official whose travel expenses were disclosed by BBG Watch is not one of Isaacson’s proteges. he was hired before Isaacson became BBG’s chairman. BBG Watch is an independent website edited by current and former BBG employees and supporters of U.S. international broadcasting.
A BBG Watch source also reported that a top Voice of America manager travels frequently at U.S. government expense to Miami where his family lives. BBG Watch asks “why is this allowed?”
BBG Watch suspects that some of these BBG officials have managed to get for themselves “blanket U.S. government travel orders” which make it possible for them to initiate their own travel without having to seek higher level approval each time they want to visit their family or meet them in an exotic location abroad.
As BBG officials spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and travel and create new government positions to hire former CNN associates of BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson, they get money for their travel and their friends’ salaries by eliminating Voice of America broadcasting services and firing VOA journalists. They did not manage to end VOA radio and TV broadcasts to China and to dismiss 45 broadcasters, because their recent plan was blocked in Congress, but they did succeeded in closing down last week the Voice of America Croatian Service. The news was announced by recently-hired VOA Director David Ensor who is a former CNN employee.
Walter Isaacson has plans to privatize the Voice of America, Radio Marti and TV Marti. Critics fear that such a privatization would turn VOA and the U.S. government-funded stations broadcasting to Cuba into a CNN-clone run by former CNN employees. One of Walter Isaacson’s proteges was quoted as saying that there are “old white guys” at the part of the organization under his control. Isaacson was reportedly horrified by this remark but did not ask the official to resign. BBG Watch has also not yet identified the BBG official who made this remark.