On April 7, we published a story about James Glassman, whose nomination as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs is being help up by Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (State nominee blocked over VOA broadcasts).
Mr. Coburn has long had concerns about anti-American bias in U.S. government broadcasts for Iran and has sought for years to obtain English transcripts of Farsi-language programs from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Mr. Glassman is BBG chairman.
The board has transcribed more than 140 hours of programming, but the senator wants everything said on the air translated and transcribed, so it can be monitored. The BBG says it’s too expensive at $3,300 an hour of air time charged by the National Virtual Translation Center to do much more — it simply doesn’t have the money.
Through all this, Mr. Glassman remained silent, as it the practice for any nominee to a senior government job until he or she is confirmed by the Senate. That changed yesterday, when he spoke at the Heritage Foundation — a good opportunity for a follow-up to my earlier story (State nominee defends VOA).
I’ve heard from many readers on the issue of the VOA’s Persian broadcasts in recent weeks, and I’d encourage them to express their views in the comments section below.
— Nicholas Kralev, diplomatic correspondent, The Washington Times