AFSA Book Notes: Behind the White House Curtain

Start Date/Time: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 12:00
End Date/Time: 
Tuesday, July 23, 2024 - 13:00

AFSA is honored to welcome Governing Board member, Foreign Service officer, and author Steve Herman to discuss his new book, “Behind the White House Curtain: A Senior Journalist’s Story of Covering the President – and Why It Matters.” This Zoom event takes place on July 23 at 12:00 p.m. EDT; please click here to register.

Herman, chief national correspondent for the nonpartisan, government-funded Voice of America (VOA), weaves together memoir and history to pull back the curtain on the inner workings of the White House press corps, giving readers a rare glimpse into the historic and current relationship between the president and the press.

Herman traces the trajectory of his career as a journalist—from learning to be skeptical of government officials’ statements when he worked as a novice reporter covering nuclear testing in Nevada in the 1970s to understanding the power of on-the-ground social media coverage after the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and facing the challenges of covering the Trump administration. He reflects on the experience of reporting on a president who once called journalists “enemies of the people”—and indeed, former president Trump singled out VOA, accusing the organization of being not a voice of America but rather a voice supporting Moscow’s and Beijing’s interests. Under questionable circumstances, top VOA executives lost their security clearances, and a dossier was prepared on Herman in an effort to remove him as White House bureau chief. With journalistic independence under threat, Herman feared not only for his career but also for “the soul of Voice of America.”