AFGE Local 1812


We at AFGE Local 1812 second the call by The Federalist in favor of an external investigation of the fiasco at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, that has resulted in a catastrophic loss of audience in record time of its flagship Russian Service.  We also encourage a thorough investigation into the fiasco at the Voice of America, that has reduced almost to the point of irrelevance its Russian Service, eviscerated the English language newsroom and reduced audiences by prioritizing fluffy stories in new media to the detriment of more serious stories aired using more reliable methods. Not to mention the lawsuits costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, which senior management refuses to settle even as they've been told by Federal Arbitrators and the FLRA that they are breaking U.S. laws.

The Federalist makes very valid points: while the BBG/IBB claims that it intends to conduct a “Russia Review”, such internal reviews, like previous ones, will probably lead nowhere. Proof is the fact that in spite of the Agency's abysmal rating in the annual OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint surveys, the same managers who have presided over these ratings for the past 10 years are still there, still pursing the same destructive agenda, still giving themselves bonuses in the thousands of dollars, presumably for a job "well-done.

"The top priority of the IBB in this matter is not transparency. The top priority is self-preservation. There should be no confidence whatsoever that the IBB will conduct a transparent, objective review" states The Federalist. "Hear, hear," we say!

Where do VOA, the OCB, RFE/RL stand: if we are to believe the annual survey, the BBG/IBB, is, as so well stated by The Federalist, rated “the worst organization in the Federal Government, perpetuating a hostile workplace (the worst place to work in the Federal Government), a collapsed audience base, following a strategic plan which operates on the premise that there is no international broadcasting, closing language services and dismantling its core news operation."

Why, we ask, are people seemingly bent on destroying these tools of U.S. public diplomacy allowed to continue running the Agency? With Congress and the White House unfortunately busy wrangling with the manufactured crises of the budget and debt ceiling, with the State Department undergoing a transition from one Secretary of State to another, we second the call by The Federalist for others to intervene to protect what remains of U.S. international broadcasting.

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