by WorldTribune Staff, March 7, 2019
Eight reporters and editors at the taxpayer-funded U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) have been fired for a report critical of leftist billionaire George Soros, a government watchdog group reported.
The head of the USAGM, Obama-appointee John F. Lansing, also ordered a review of all of the media outlet’s content to address “patterns of unethical, unprofessional, biased, or sub-standard journalism,” Judical Watch noted in a March 5 report.
The report on Soros involved a Spanish-language segment which aired in May 2018 on Television Marti.
Television Marti’s report on Soros focused on his efforts to cripple sovereign governments in Latin America. Judicial Watch was cited as a source as it has investigated State Department funding of Soros groups in Colombia and published a report on Soros’ initiatives to advance a radical globalist agenda in Guatemala.
More than five months after the Spanish-language Soros broadcast aired, the segment caught the eye of New Jersey Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez. In an Oct. 31, 2018 letter to Lansing, the senator called for an immediate investigation into the Soros broadcast as well as an audit “on patterns of unethical and unprofessional reporting” at OCB.
Menendez also slammed Judicial Watch, stating that the Soros segment had “no credible sourcing” and “occasionally cites only a fringe website.”
Lansing used similar language in a Washington Post article about the recent Marti firings over the Soros video. “The person developing the Soros story was using Judicial Watch as a source as I understand it – the story was not only poorly sourced, it relied heavily on one less-than-credible source,” Lansing says in the article, which states that “Soros has emerged as a leading boogeyman on the right.”
Last year, Menendez blocked President Donald Trump’s nomination to replace Lansing as USAGM chief.
Television Martí – and its radio counterpart – operate under the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) and comprise one of the USAGM’s five international multimedia networks. The others are Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting.
The media outlets get about $685 million a year from American taxpayers and reportedly reach 345 million people worldwide in 59 languages. The global media agency was created to counter disinformation spread by oppressive regimes abroad. The USAGM website states that its mission is “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
Television and Radio Martí were created to promote freedom and democracy by providing the people of Cuba with objective news and information programming.
Judicial Watch also released a special report documenting the financial and staffing nexus between Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) and the U.S. government.