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Trump Floats Idea of Government-Run Global Network to Rival CNN International

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested that the government would launch a network to rival CNN International, as a way “to show the world the way we really are, great!”

Trump broached the idea in an afternoon tweet that again attacked CNN, this time its highly successful global network.

“While CNN doesn’t do great in the United States based on ratings, outside of the U.S. they have very little competition. Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair….and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

But the U.S. government already funds international broadcast outlets, including Voice of America, which has a budget of about $235 million, employs more than 1,000, and programs in more than 40 languages. One of its shows is “Plugged in With Greta Van Susteren.”

Voice of America is run through the U.S. Agency for Global Media, whose CEO is John Lansing, the former president of Scripps Network. At the time that Trump took office, there was a significant amount of consternation that he would try to influence the content of the VOA news operation. But Lansing told NPR that such an action would be “illegal,” and VOA has compared its standards and structure to that of the BBC.

That seems far different from the kind of state-run, “USA! USA!” TV envisioned by Trump, especially as he routinely chides allies like Germany and France, and neighbors like Mexico.

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