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Michael Pack, the controversial CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, is resigning as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, at the request of the Biden administration.
“It is disheartening that my resignation has been requested,” Pack wrote in his letter. “This will long be viewed as a partisan act that harmed an office designed to serve the American people and the national interest.”
Pack, a conservative documentary filmmaker (Hollywood vs. Religion, Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words) and confidant of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, had only been CEO of the agency since June of last year, but during his short tenure he fired the heads of its news outlets and replaced agency veterans with conservative loyalists.
He also spent millions of dollars investigating agency employees, per The Washington Post, and repealed a rule that forbade political interference in coverage from the agency’s journalists, effectively eliminating the independence that the agency and its news outlets had long maintained.
After the election, Biden tapped former Time managing editor and Undersecretary of State Richard Stengel to serve as his transition’s team lead for the agency, figuring out what changes would need to be made once he was sworn in. Requesting Pack’s resignation was apparently one of those changes. Pack had two and a half years left in his term.
The U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and other international news outlets, had previously been overseen by an independent board called the Broadcasting Board of Governors. President Obama signed a law in 2016 reorganizing the agency so that it would be led by a CEO appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
While Pack was appointed in 2018, he was not confirmed until last summer.
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