Saturday, January 30, 2016

"In strategic terms, the BBG is losing the information war, as former BBG member and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out in 2013... " - New BBG CEO John Lansing is having a positive impact, but is it enough? - BBG Watch

Critics believe that the BBG has to be significantly transformed through legislation to have a winning strategy against ISIS and propaganda from countries like Russia... 

In strategic terms, the BBG is losing the information war, as former BBG member and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out in 2013... 

Congressional Sources Suspect Lobbying By BBG
Congressional sources told BBG Watch that the BBG is spending a lot of time on the Hill these days trying to convince Senate members to reject H.R.2323. They see new BBG CEO and Director John Lansing as leading the charge, at the direction of BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. For a U.S. government agency which by law is required to stay completely above domestic politics, John Lansing and other BBG officials are targeting Senate Democrats in particular, congressional sources told BBG Watch. However, when John Lansing approaches Republican Senators in his lobbying efforts against H.R. 2323, he reportedly is assisted former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker who is one of BBG board’s Republican members.
Congressional sources told BBG Watch that the message some BBG officials are now circulating is that they would rather have no bill at all than H.R. 2323.
“It’s an interesting position to take since it not only contradicts what BBG Chairman Jeff Shell has said previously, but it also suggests that the status quo at the agency is working,” one senior congressional staffer told BBG Watch on the condition that his name not be used... 
Congress is likely to view a rejection of the bipartisan legislation as an indication that compromise with the Obama Administration is not possible and therefore more partisan and more dramatic action should be taken. Any subsequent legislation will not make additional concessions to the BBG leadership; if anything, there will be a roll back of concessions already made, a senior congressional staffer told BBG Watch.
“BBG leadership’s actions here are quite sad,” is the feeling among House Foreign Affairs Committee members. Essentially they’re saying they want it their way or not at all… “they’re taking their ball and going home,” a congressional source told us... 
A SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL STAFFER:
“The current BBG anti-legislation strategy is also short sighted. The Obama Administration is over in less than a year. John Lansing may be out. Jeff Shell (and others) are already serving on expired terms and they’ll be out too. If the BBG Board thinks it can permanently stymy legislative reform, it’s mistaken. At best, the BBG can postpone legislative reform for one more year. Congress is committed to reform and will not be deterred by petty politics; it’s too important to our nation.”... 
A senior congressional staffer said that members will be determined more than ever to scrutinize closely the agency’s budgets and to force through major reforms sooner or later... 
As a result of years of mismanagement by BBG and IBB, neither VOA nor RFE/RL have enough experienced journalists or a winning strategy for dealing with Kremlin propaganda and many other pressing problems, but some individual journalists are still capable of producing outstanding work. Unfortunately, both VOA and to some degree RFE/RL have lost much of their former prestige and impact. Online audience engagement for program content fulfilling the mission is low due to a series of management mistakes and wasteful spending under BBG.
Individual VOA language services and broadcasters, however, are trying hard to achieve impact despite all odds.

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