WASHINGTON -- The new chief of U.S.-funded global media is facing a conservative backlash over his decision to fire the heads of two international broadcasters, adding to concerns about the direction of the agency, which oversees the Voice of America and other outlets.
The criticism of Michael Pack is unusual because it's coming from supporters of President Donald Trump who had backed his controversial nomination to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media over staunch Democratic objections.
Trump allies, including former adviser Sebastian Gorka, have offered public support for the ousted head of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Alberto Fernandez, while others have taken issue with the firing of the head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Jamie Fly.
Pack, a conservative filmmaker and onetime associate of Trump adviser Steve Bannon, sacked both of them late Wednesday in a purge of the agency's outlets, which also include Radio Free Asia and the Cuba-focused Radio/TV Marti. Those moves have alarmed Democrats who fear Pack intends to turn the agency into a Trump administration propaganda machine.
In addition to Fernandez and Fly, Pack also removed the head of Radio Free Asia, Bay Fang, and the acting chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting on Wednesday. He replaced each outlet's corporate board of directors with allies and installed himself as chairman of each.