Eight reporters and editors at U.S. tax-funded TV and Radio Marti, which broadcasts in Spanish to communist Cuba, have been fired after a report aired portraying left-wing billionaire George Soros in an unflattering light.
The Washington watchdog Judicial Watch explained the firings came at the request of scandal-plagued Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
Menendez, who has been accused of hiring prostitutes and misusing funds for personal benefit, demanded an investigation that resulted in the dismissals, Judicial Watch said.
Judicial Watch said that at Menendez’s request, Obama appointee John Lansing of the U.S. Agency for Global Media used “Stalinist techniques to retaliate against the journalists and producers involved in the Spanish-language segment,” which aired last May.
The firings, Judicial Watch said, citing an unidentified employee at Marti headquarters, created an environment in which “people write with fear.”
The report on Soros said the billionaire had “flexible” morals. The channel operates under the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and is one of five networks run by the USAGM. Created to counter disinformation from repressive states around the globe, it receives nearly $700 million a year from American taxpayers and reaches 345 million people.
“The Soros broadcast focused on his efforts to cripple sovereign governments in Latin America. Judicial Watch was cited as a source because it investigated State Department funding of Soros groups in Colombia and published a report on Soros’ initiatives to advance a radical globalist agenda in Guatemala,” Judicial Watch said.
The Miami Herald said the Marti report described Soros is a “left-wing billionaire of Hungarian-Jewish origin” and a “nonpracticing Jew of flexible morals.”
Judicial Watch also released a report that showed the financial and staffing links between Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the U.S. government.
“In that document, Judicial Watch connects the dots between U.S.-funded entities and OSF affiliates to further the Hungarian-born philanthropist’s agenda seeking to destabilize legitimate governments, erase national borders, target conservative politicians, finance civil unrest, subvert institutions of higher education, and orchestrate refugee crises for political gain,” Judicial Watch said.
For example, only a few years ago, Judicial Watch revealed the U.S. government’s strategy to spend millions of dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, relatively conservative government in Macedonia by “colluding” with Soros.
Menendez, when he finally noticed the reporting months later, demanded an investigation and an audit on “patterns of unethical and unprofessional reporting.”
He also claimed the Marti report had “no credible sourcing,” even though it cited Judicial Watch, which for years has exposed wrongdoing in government through its research and court actions.
For example, it has been a key player in recent years in ferreting out the details of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
Menendez claimed Judicial Watch was “a fringe website.”
The senator has had his own problems with what Judicial Watch describes as a “sordid history.”
For one thing, he blocked President Trump’s nomination to replace Lansing.
And it was only a few years back that Menendez was accused of bribery and corruption stemming from his relationship “with a crooked south Florida eye doctor that lavished him with cash, gifts and trips.”
That eye doctor, Salomon Melgen, eventually was convicted of stealing $73 million from Medicare and got 17 years in jail.
While the senator was accused of bribery and corruption in that case, jurors were unable to reach a verdict and he got a mistrial.
But his colleagues on the Senate Ethics Committee concluded he not only violated Senate rules, but also federal law and handed him a public letter of admonition.
“As far back as 2007, Menendez was investigated by a federal grand jury for illegally steering lobbying business to his former chief of staff Kay LiCausi, with whom he was also romantically linked. In just a few years, her firm reported $1.3 million in business with nearly $300,000 coming from a New Jersey medical center that was later awarded government funding thanks to a push from her former boss and lover. In 2010, Menendez and his colleague in corruption, New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg, allocated $8 million for a public walkway and park space adjacent to upscale, waterfront condos built by a developer whose executives donated generously to their political campaigns,” Judicial Watch said.
“Perhaps not so coincidentally, the developer’s Washington, D.C., lobbyist was a longtime senior aide to Menendez. The senator was also embroiled in a hooker scandal in the Dominican Republic with his incarcerated eye doctor pal and he hired an illegal immigrant sex offender to work in his senate office.”
The Daily Caller reported two women said Menendez paid them for sex.