The video, which also includes a short video of Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Was freely stripped of Emgage Action’s Million Muslim Votes virtual conference show earlier this month, for which Biden provided a video. Emgage Action is a left-leaning 501c (4) group that endorsed Biden and that “seeks to mobilize American Muslims to favor issues that define who American Muslims are,” according to its website.
One of those clips included audio from a voice-over narrative. “Make no mistake about people, 2020 is our year. Let’s come up with it with a 20/20 vision,” the video says. “We can clearly see that America is fighting. for her own soul. “
Discussions on the fate of contractors come amid a policy-laden review of taxpayer-funded media, including VOA. Their suspension represents a less severe punishment than what the new VOA leadership had first contemplated, according to both: the immediate end.
Bill Baum, a longtime VOA veteran and current senior adviser to the acting director, told colleagues earlier this week that VOA wanted to terminate their contracts immediately because the story resembled an advertisement of campaign, was unbalanced and violated VOA’s journalism standards.
But after the attorney general from VOA’s flagship organization, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, recommended that VOA simply suspend the four contractors, instead of firing them, they could end up keeping the their job after all. Contractors are likely to be given a chance to explain why they should not be fired, according to a person familiar with the internal discussions.
In a statement, VOA spokesman Bridget Serchak said: “The VOA leadership is conducting a full review of the circumstances surrounding the issue. Corrective actions will be taken, once all the facts of the matter have been gathered and carefully evaluated. “
President Donald Trump and his allies have loudly complained about the tone of VOA’s coverage ̵1; including an unusual explosion in a newsletter at the White House. In the case of the Biden video, people outside the USAGM were tagged to the new Chief Executive, Michael Pack, and raised concerns about the content, according to the person.
The video also caught the attention of conservative journalist Sara Carter, who on Monday wrote a story titled: “Voice Of America Promoted A Pro-Biden Muslim Political Campaign, Then Remove It.” She quoted House Freedom Caucus Rep. President. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) By calling it “an outrage that VOA … used its platform to campaign for Biden” and called for an investigation.
The package, an ally of Steve Bannon, fired the heads of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and other stores as it began as Chief Executive of the tax-funded media group, a move that drew criticism from members of both parties in Congress. Amanda Bennett, the head of VOA at the time, resigned on his first day at work.
A veteran documentary filmmaker, Pack defended the shakeup as needed to help it reform the organization to align more clearly with its original mission.
But there are deep suspicions of the Pack’s true motivations within the USAGM and among its supporters on Capitol Hill.
“Unfortunately he’s trying to find one incident and examples can show he’s improving the content,” said one of the people on Pack. (A USAGM official said VOA’s language services have long been “scrutinized for failing to meet journalistic standards and principles” and did not comply with the VOA charter.)
The scrutiny of Biden’s video attracted top VOA officials to deal closely with the issue. Officials in the front office of the store told colleagues that the Urdu video should have corrected Biden when he referred to the “Muslim ban” by saying that President Trump’s 2017 immigration action did not ban to all Muslims from entering the United States, but only in countries selected by a Muslim majority. , according to a person familiar with internal discussions. The video should also have noted that the Trump campaign is making sense to Muslim voters and that some Muslim organizations support Trump’s re-election, they said.
Top USAGM officials asked to know the names of everyone involved in the story and asked to be interviewed, according to one person familiar with the exchanges.
On Tuesday, VOA’s director of conduct, Elez Biberaj, had multiple meetings with the Pack’s front office and was asked by deputy chief of staff, Diane Cullo, to name the journalists. involved in putting the story and the full translation of a piece, according to two people familiar with the matter. VOA shared that information with USAGM and promised to improve the editorial process to prevent this type of episode from happening again. Biberaj also proposed disciplinary action against other people involved.
There is little dispute that Urdu content violated VOA editorial standards, but the involvement of top USAGM officials has raised tensions.
“It seems as if the CEO’s office is extremely interested in getting the other side of the firewall into VOA activities,” the person familiar with the internal discussions said. The source could not remind VOA that it never considered shooting people based on one story who are unbalanced, and without a record of poor performance.
“It seems so fast and so out of the ordinary,” said the person, who called it “a wizard’s hunt.”