Head of U.S. Government News Agency Rejects Twitter’s ‘Government-Funded’ Label

U.S. Agency for Global Media is funded entirely by the United States government

CEO of U.S. Agency for Global Media Amanda Bennett (L) and Twitter CEO Elon Musk (R)
April 13, 2023

The head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a news agency funded entirely by the United States government, claimed Thursday that it is "very misleading" for Twitter to designate the organization as "government-funded."

Amanda Bennett, the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, rejected the label during a State Department briefing when asked about Twitter’s designation of Voice of America, a subsidiary of the agency, as "government-funded media." Twitter added the label to several American outlets, including NPR, which is partially funded by the government.

"We completely reject the implications of the label ‘government-funded,’" said Bennett, according to a State Department transcript. "Of course we’re government-funded, but it’s potentially misleading."

Bennett, a former director of Voice of America, claimed that the label could be misconstrued as "government-controlled." She insisted that the U.S. Agency for Global Media and its subsidiaries are "independent" and "not government-controlled."

Bennett’s case may be a tough sell. The Biden administration allocated $840 million in funds to the U.S. Agency for Global Media this fiscal year. The agency, which operates in 62 countries, is tasked with "telling America’s story and countering anti-American propaganda." Voice of America says its mission is to "represent America" and to "present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively."

The agency has faced criticism of late over what critics say is its biased coverage of world events and its subservience to President Joe Biden. Republicans have investigated Voice of America over its biased coverage of Iran. Voice of America came under fire during the 2020 presidential campaign after its bureau in Pakistan published a video of Biden asking for the support of Muslim voters.

The U.S. Agency for Global Media recently paid the Poynter Institute, a liberal journalism academy, to train its reporters how to be "balanced and bias-free," the Washington Free Beacon reported.