A New York Times infographic and article about the $13.6 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine reports that the package approved by Congress includes "$25 million to combat disinformation and support independent journalism." It's a puzzle to me how the New York Times accepts without any skeptical questioning the idea that U.S.-government funded journalism is "independent." One might point out that if the $25 million in government funding is necessary, the journalism isn't in fact "independent," it is dependent, on U.S. government funding.
I don't mind having some of my federal tax dollars, earned as a genuinely independent journalist, used to pay for outlets, such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty or Radio Televisión Martí, that support freedom and democracy by providing factual information in places where it is scarce. But using the term "independent" to describe government-funded journalism in an organization led by a presidentially appointed CEO seems to be a stretch. This $25 million is an appropriation for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the parent of Voice of America, RFE/RL, Radio and TV Martí, and other outlets. The Agency for Global Media says it has a "firewall" protecting its "editorial independence." Count me as, generally, a fan of these outlets, but nevertheless skeptical that any news organization reliant on Congress for funding and with a CEO appointed by the president of the United States can accurately be described as "independent." Maybe the goal should be that the programming be accurate or pro-freedom or pro-democracy, not that it be "independent."