Ben Rhodes and the Broadcasting Board of Governors

BBG Watch Commentary

Ben Rhodes, Assistant to President President Obama and his Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting, who made highly controversial comments in his interview with The New York Times, appears to have a special role within the White House vis-a-vis taxpayer-funded (approx. $777 million, FY 2017 Request), supposedly independent federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees, administers, and manages U.S. international media outreach, including the Voice of America (VOA), the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB – Radio and TV Marti), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN – Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Radio Free Asia (RFA).

In August 2014, Ben Rhodes participated by a video link in an open meeting of the BBG board and made a number of remarks concerning proposed reforms of the agency which in 2013 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and herself a BBG board member, called “practically defunct.” None of the legislative structural reforms, which Mr. Rhodes discussed at the 2014 BBG meeting, was enacted by the U.S. Congress. Ben Rhodes expressed at the time his opposition to key provisions of these legislative reforms (H.R. 4490; replaced later by H.R. 2323), as did later BBG Chairman Jeff Shell and new BBG CEO John Lansing.

In his New York Times interview, Ben Rhodes said:

 
“All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”
 

The snubbing by the Voice of America of Ben Rhodes’ 2014 remarks to the BBG may not have been intentional but rather a result of dysfunction and mismanagement. New VOA director, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amanda Bennett, was recently appointed, but Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty is still without permanent leadership for over two years. While the BBG has new CEO John Lansing, who has made some personnel changes and minor administrative improvements, many critics say that without major structural reforms through legislation, the Broadcasting Board of Governors cannot be truly reformed and U.S. international media outreach cannot become truly effective against Russia, China, or ISIL.

The lack of legislative action on the bipartisan reform bill, H.R. 2323, because Ben Rhodes and the Obama Administration appear to oppose it, should make it easier for Mr. Rhodes to maintain his influence over the Broadcasting Board of Governors, even if the U.S. media and its reporters who, according to him, “literally know nothing,” are perhaps now getting smarter.

 

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BBG Watch, August 15, 2014

 

Voice of America snubs White House aide Ben Rhodes speaking on VOA’s future, Russia’s RT had a report

 
 
BBG Commentary

Ben Rhodes

Ben Rhodes

Whether it was a deliberate snub or yet another example of management and news reporting meltdown at the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), its English language news website had no report on Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting Ben Rhodes’ remarks Wednesday, August 13, 2014 to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) about the position of the White House on the future of U.S. international broadcasting and the bipartisan reform bill pending in Congress to reorganize the BBG.

VOA’s competitor on the international media scene, Russia’s RT (formerly Russia Today) had a report on the BBG Board meeting in Washington at which White House aide Ben Rhodes spoke through a video link. Rhodes was with President Obama at Martha’s Vineyard, where the First Family is spending summer vacation. He was there assisting the President with national security issues, particularly the situation in Iraq.

RT Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 2.05AM EDT

Russia’s RT reported on August 14 that “American broadcasters see RT as major challenge, want to try to compete.”

 

 
RT: Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes, who participated in the meeting, said the current developments in Ukraine were “a perfect test case for the environment that we’re in right now.” One of the things the “test case” showed was increased competition in international broadcasting, he said.
 
“Russia Today [RT], for instance, has obviously been very broadly disseminated,” Rhodes said. “And it is a good time for us to step back and think through how the US is communicating… and what additional steps we can do to meet the challenge of getting information out in an increasingly competitive environment.”
 
He also made mention of “many different platforms,” including YouTube and Twitter, that the Russians were using widely in conjunction with their TV broadcasting.
 
Russia’s “sophisticated” use of social media has also impressed Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Richard Stengel.
 
“One of the things I’ve seen and have been surprised by in my time here is just how sophisticated their messaging is on social media, and just like you, I think this is the area that we should own and we don’t own it,” he said.
 
READ MORE: American broadcasters see RT as major challenge, want to try to compete, RT, August 14, 2014.
 

The Voice of America failing management has shown how unsophisticated their approach is to news reporting and engaging international audiences by not reporting on White House aide Ben Rhodes’ and Under Secretary Stengel’s comments about VOA and U.S. international broadcasting.

As of August 15, 2014, 1:15 AM EDT, the RT report about VOA and U.S. international broadcasting had over 2,500 Facebook “Likes” — many times more than an average VOA English News report gets on the VOA website. Even the State Department’s Twitter has nearly ten times more Followers than the VOA English News Twitter account. VOA’s repeated failures to report promptly and comprehensively on many significant U.S. news placed the VOA English news site and its social media pages far behind major international broadcasters such as BBC or RT, and even far behind the State Department.

It’s not clear why the Voice of America did not cover the Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting that dealt with its future. VOA executives and some English Newsroom reporters may not have liked Ben Rhodes’ comments stressing that the White House welcomes “the fact that there have been serious efforts on the Hill, in both Houses of Congress, to address some of the challenges confronting the BBG and to make sure you have the tools, authorities and structures needed to communicate with the global audience here in the 21st century.” Rhodes also said that the White House we agrees “with the broad aims of the reform.”

Opponents of the bipartisan Royce – Engel United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490) within the VOA management and among VOA Newsroom editors may have also objected to Ben Rhodes’ repeated comments about direct links between U.S. foreign policy and U.S. international broadcasting. “We do believe that the strategic, structural challenges faced by the BBG need to be addressed and that doing so will strengthen American foreign policy,” Rhodes said. He also said that the stated mission of the BBG is “advancing freedom and democracy and supporting open societies and information.”

 

 
BEN RHODES: “We also believe that the State Department needs to have a seat at the table. Again, while the BBG carries out its mission, State is obviously communicating on behalf of the United States around the globe.
 
And, again, we believe that the State Department needs to have a seat at the table on the board for the grantee organizations.
 
Again, this role on the board has enabled the State Department to provide foreign policy guidance and input so that the BBG can understand what the priorities and strategies of the U.S. government are as they make decisions about resources. And without this input, we believe, broadcasters will be handicapped in their ability to achieve the stated mission of advancing freedom and democracy and supporting open societies and information.”

 

 
Ben Rhodes said that the White House intends to work with Congress on the reform bill.

 

 
BEN RHODES: “This is going to be a partnership. The people in Congress who have been focused on this have brought, I think, many good ideas to the table, very good energy to the table, and are getting at some of the structural issues in ways that are very important.”
 

 
There was, however, some hope in Ben Rhodes’ remarks for opponents of H.R. 4490. Rhodes said that the White House objects to some of the elements of the reform bill that might strengthen the BBG’s surrogate broadcasters and make them more independent.

 

 
BEN RHODES: “We are engaging Congress on the proposed structure, however. We have expressed some concerns about the creation of two separate broads and two separate CEOs.
 
Given that the challenge that has been identified is improving coordination, we believe that duplication of effort can actually compromise our ability to get better coordination.
 
So, again, we want to see reform efforts that don’t have a duplication of effort that could decrease our effectiveness.”

 

 
Voice of America broadcasters may be encouraged by Rhodes comment that the White House places more importance on global communication than on local, or surrogate communication. Global communication is more associated with the Voice of America.

 

 
BEN RHODES: “So, for instance, we believe it’s important to shift additional resources to engage global audiences and to focus locally only when there are compelling reasons to do so.
 
We’re in a global information environment, we need to have the ability to communicate globally.
 
There will, of course, be priority countries, for instance countries where there is not access to free information, where it will be necessary to communicate locally and specifically in a certain language and with certain publics, but we don’t want the local mission to come at the expense of also having the ability to broadcast and communicate globally.”

 

 
But Ben Rhodes left no doubt in his remarks that the White House sees a close link between U.S. foreign policy and U.S. international broadcasting.

 

 
BEN RHODES: “And I can commit to you that President Obama is personally focused and engaged on this very topic.
 
And, again, not only will I be engaged, but with Rick Stengel, a very excellent Under Secretary in place now at the State Department, I think we have the right team to make a really lasting contribution to the United States that can benefit our values, our interests for many years to come.”

 

 
Ben Rhodes’ recent statements on the critical humanitarian situation in Syria and Iraq were also all but ignored by the Voice of America (VOA) English Newsroom.

Ann Noonan

Ann Noonan

Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the independent NGO, the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org), speaking as a member of the public at the BBG meeting in Washington on Wednesday, called for urgent management reforms at the Voice of America. She mentioned VOA English News failure to report on the House Foreign Affairs Committee testimony last week by a former Syrian Army photographer about evidence of killings and torture by the Syrian regime. A meeting Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had with the former Syrian Army photographer who documented crimes in Syria was not reported by VOA English News.

Noonan also said that VOA English News had only one sentence on the meeting Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had last week at the White House with members of the Iraqi Yezidi community to discuss the dire humanitarian situation in northern Iraq, particularly as it impacts the Yezidi community and other ethnic and religious minority groups, including Christians, Turkmen, and Shabak. She also said that VOA was not updating its Kurdish Service website, Facebook and Twitter last week, sometimes for up to 11 hours, while tens of thousands of Kurdish speaking refugees were being pursued by the Islamic fighters, stranded without food on a mountain, and being supplied by the U.S. military in one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of recent years.

Noonan also said that it took VOA Kurdish Service a few hours to report last Saturday online on President Obama’s major statement on the humanitarian situation in Iraq — and when it did, it had only four short sentences.

“How could VOA and IBB management allow this to happen?,” CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan asked at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) open meeting attended by Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting Ben Rhodes and Rick Stengel, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She also mentioned inaccurate Voice of America English News reporting on the UN report on casualties in eastern Ukraine that tended to boost the Kremlin’s dubious propaganda claims.

The BBG Board also heard a statement from Voice of America National Correspondent Jim Malone in strong opposition to the bipartisan Royce – Engel United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490), which was approved unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and passed unanimously in a voice vote by the House of Representatives. Malone told the BBG Board that because of H.R. 4490, “the future of VOA journalistic credibility is in question.” He said that the bill would require the Voice of America not only to report the news, but “to promote U.S. foreign policy” and to take “direction from the CIA and the Pentagon.”

Supporters of the reform bill in Congress counter that such claims from some Voice of America English Newsroom reporters are exaggerated and point out that the VOA employee union, AFGE Local 1812, came out strongly in strong support of the proposed legislation while requesting that some of the language be modified to strengthen VOA’s journalistic credibility.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), who introduced the bill together with the House Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), denied that H.R. 4490 is designed in any way to limit VOA’s journalistic independence. The VOA Charter, which lawmakers have accused VOA executives of ignoring, was incorporated into the bill.

 

 
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): “Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this bill maintains the requirement that U.S.-funded programming serve as objective sources of news and information, and not simply as a mouthpiece for U.S. foreign policy. It’s absolutely critical that the news be accurate and seen as credible by the foreign audiences we’re trying to reach.”
 

 

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Link to BBG video on YouTube.

 
 

 
BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS CHAIRMAN JEFF SHELL: We’re back on the air, on the webcast, to a briefing of the BBG. I’d like to introduce a wonderful civil servant who is serving as you can see in a very glamorous location north of here [Martha’s Vineyard] with the President whom I consider my boss in this job.
 
So, Ben, sorry you can’t be here. Hopefully, you can be here at a future Board meeting. But thanks for addressing us here today. I want you to take it away.

 
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND SPEECHWRITING BEN RHODES: Well, thanks Jeff, and, again, I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. I intended to be in town this week, but with all the circumstances taking place around the world, particularly in Iraq, the National Security Staff is providing some additional support here to the President.
 
At the same time, a commitment to Jeff Shell is unbreakable, in my view, so I was glad that through technology I’m able to join you.
 
Let me just begin by thanking you, Jeff, and the rest of the Board, for your leadership. I think we’re very enthusiastic that after some turnover, we now have a very strong Board in place at a critical time that’s going to bring new energy and expertise to U.S. International Broadcasting.
 
So, let me just begin by thanking you for what you’re doing to enhance Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, the other components of our international broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Office of Cuba Broadcasting.
 
So, I just want to let you know that for starters President Obama has been increasingly focused on this issue of international broadcasting. We’ve updated him on the efforts that the BBG is undertaking and the various reform proposals that are moving forward.
 
We recently were able to meet with him to go through those different proposals. He reiterated both the historical legacy of U.S. International Broadcasting throughout the Cold War and years that followed, but also, I think, identified that we are at a critical moment where we need to up our own game here.
 
Let me also just say at the onset that we’re very grateful to the thousands of journalists, communications professionals, who are dedicated to this mission, particularly those who are helping to get information to some of the more remote and, frankly, repressed corners of the globe, where people are not able to receive independent sources of news and information.
 
We know that this comes at a great sacrifice and particularly we think of Bashar Fahmi, the Alhurra correspondent who has tragically been missing for two years in Syria.
 
So, just to step back and frame the discussion.
 
We see an increasing need for information to reach peoples who are in areas where they cannot access information — the traditional role of the BBG in helping to facilitate the flow of information around the world, but also just frankly, we see an increasingly populated space around the world. Russia Today, for instance, has obviously been very broadly disseminated, as well as other state media and independent media. And, it’s a good time for us to step back and think through how the U.S. is communicating, how the independent agencies under BBG are operating and what additional steps that we can do to, again, meet the challenge of getting information out in an increasingly competitive environment.
 
We welcome the fact that there have been serious efforts on the Hill, in both Houses of Congress, to address some of the challenges confronting the BBG and to make sure you have the tools, authorities and structures needed to communicate with the global audience here in the 21st century.
 
I think I’ll just say about the reform efforts that we agree with the broad aims of the reform.
 
We do believe that the strategic, structural challenges faced by the BBG need to be addressed and that doing so will strengthen American foreign policy, increase understanding of our view of critical issues and open up access to information.
 
We are engaging Congress on the proposed structure, however. We have expressed some concerns about the creation of two separate broads and two separate CEOs.
 
Given that the challenge that has been identified is improving coordination, we believe that duplication of effort can actually compromise our ability to get better coordination.
 
So, again, we want to see reform efforts that don’t have a duplication of effort that could decrease our effectiveness.
 
So, again, the difference in the governing structures of the BBG already has served as one of the management challenges for the organization.
 
So we have recommended the creation of a single oversight structure for U.S. international broadcasting as the best way to provide that umbrella for reform.
 
We also believe that the State Department needs to have a seat at the table. Again, while the BBG carries out its mission, State is obviously communicating on behalf of the United States around the globe.
 
And, again, we believe that the State Department needs to have a seat at the table on the board for the grantee organizations.
 
Again, this role on the board has enabled the State Department to provide foreign policy guidance and input so that the BBG can understand what the priorities and strategies of the U.S. government are as they make decisions about resources. And without this input, we believe, broadcasters will be handicapped in their ability to achieve the stated mission of advancing freedom and democracy and supporting open societies and information.
 
In addition to the structural reforms, we believe it’s important to address the strategic requirements for U.S. international broadcasting and that goes frankly beyond some of the reforms in the legislation.
 
So, for instance, we believe it’s important to shift additional resources to engage global audiences and to focus locally only when there are compelling reasons to do so.
 
We’re in a global information environment, we need to have the ability to communicate globally.
 
There will, of course, be priority countries, for instance countries where there is not access to free information, where it will be necessary to communicate locally and specifically in a certain language and with certain publics, but we don’t want the local mission to come at the expense of also having the ability to broadcast and communicate globally.
 
We also, frankly, need capacity to produce compelling and relevant content for that global audience, as well. And that includes looking at producing beyond news, but also other programs that, frankly, meet the audience where they are with the type of content that they’re seeking.
 
And, nobody should be better than the United States of America, given our mix generally of not just being the leader in the world, but having the independent media and the vibrant press, but also being the cultural leader in the world.
 
Again, we believe the ability to meet people with their information needs and the information they’re seeking is going to be critical for the BBG going forward.
 
And if you look across the world, that can be everything from the use of mobile technology in places like Africa where people are increasingly drawing not just on radio but on their phones, to reaching people with content and on the appropriate platforms in Asia, where we see an explosion of consumers of different media, in particular in South East Asia.
 
So, as we make this transition, we also want to make sure that we also make the best use of the transitional platforms that we have in place.
 
As I said, radio is still an important medium for reaching audiences, particularly in Africa, but we want to make sure that as we look at different regions we’re keeping the foundation of the traditional platforms as necessary, but also looking at video, mobile and online production.
 
But, again, just to conclude here, if you look across the spectrum, I think we have a huge opportunity. I think people recognize the valuable and critical tool of international broadcasting in engaging global audiences.
 
People recognize the competitive nature of the space that we’re confronted with as other nations move aggressively into the international broadcasting space.
 
So, the need is there.
 
And whether it is dealing with making sure that there is good information that people can access in places like in Eastern Europe — or we see Russia very active — whether it’s engaging emerging audiences in critical regions like sub-Saharan Africa or South East Asia — of course, the Middle East and North Africa — or whether it is, again, moving into additional content that builds on the journalistic foundation of the BBG to meet those consumers of information where they are, I think if we get the reform process right with Congress, and we get the strategic vision, Jeff, that you and the Board are setting in place, we can really have an enormous legacy for taking stock of where the world is in the 21st century and having the international broadcasting structure that is a tool to advance American values for many years to come.
 
And just, again, to close it.
 
This is going to be a partnership. The people in Congress who have been focused on this have brought, I think, many good ideas to the table, very good energy to the table, and are getting at some of the structural issues in ways that are very important.
 
The new Board brings a lot of new strategic vision and a variety of expertise from different backgrounds to the conversation, as well.
 
And I can commit to you that President Obama is personally focused and engaged on this very topic.
 
And, again, not only will I be engaged, but with Rick Stengel, a very excellent Under Secretary in place now at the State Department, I think we have the right team to make a really lasting contribution to the United States that can benefit our values, our interests for many years to come.


 

 
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STATEMENT BY COMMITTEE FOR U.S. INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ANN NOONAN
 
 

 

Link to BBG video on YouTube.
 
AUGUST 13, 2014
 
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
I’d like to start by asking why the BBG’s legal department has still not complied with its requirement to provide the remaining pages for our FOIA request of September 19, 2013, which asked for copies of all of former IBB Director’s emails about a former BBG Governor. Can the Governors please let CUSIB know when these documents will be provided?
 
The Broadcasting Board of Governors should immediately do something about the management meltdown at the Voice of America.
 
How can VOA not update its Kurdish Service website, Facebook and Twitter for up to 11 hours while tens of thousands of Kurdish speaking refugees are being pursued by the Islamic fighters, stranded without food on a mountain, and being supplied by the U.S. military in one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of recent years? How could VOA and IBB management allow this to happen?
 
Let me also point out that as late as two weeks ago, the agency’s bureaucracy talked about and wanted to cut ALL VOA Kurdish shortwave transmissions — the only link now to these refugees, without food and electricity, but perhaps some with battery operated radios.
 
VOA’s senior executives are not in touch with their language services and are not helping to guide them and provide them with resources at critical moments for international audiences and for the United States. It took VOA Kurdish Service a few hours to report Saturday online on President Obama’s major statement on the humanitarian situation in Iraq — and when it did, it had only four short sentences.
 
VOA English News had only one sentence on the meeting Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had last week at the White House with members of the Iraqi Yezidi community to discuss the dire humanitarian situation in northern Iraq, particularly as it impacts the Yezidi community and other ethnic and religious minority groups, including Christians, Turkmen, and Shabak.
 
Every day, there are examples of VOA News failures, such as not reporting at all on the House Foreign Affairs Committee testimony last week by a former Syrian Army photographer about evidence of killings and torture by the Syrian regime. A meeting Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes had with the former Syrian Army photographer who documented crimes in Syria was not reported by VOA English News.
 
In another incident, VOA interrupted live radio transmission to Africa of President Obama’s major speech about Africa and failed to report on critical comments on U.S. Africa policy from key members of Congress, including Senator Menendez and Congressman Royce.
 
Just two days ago, VOA English News reported inaccurately on the UN report about casualties in eastern Ukraine and gave a boost to propaganda from the Russian government by its inaccurate reporting.
 
This is happening at VOA again and again. There is a breakdown of leadership, management and editorial controls at the Voice of America and the BBG must take immediate steps to address this situation.
 
Thank you.

 

 

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Reforming International Broadcasting

STATEMENT OF VOICE OF AMERICA JOURNALIST JIM MALONE TO THE BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
 
 

 
Link to BBG video on YouTube.
 
 
AUGUST 13, 2014
 
Members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, ladies and gentlemen,
thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
 
My name is Jim Malone. I’m the National Correspondent in the Central
Newsroom and I’ve worked as a journalist at the Voice of America for
the past 31 years.
 
VOA’s first broadcast was in German, but the sentiment was uniquely American:
“The news may be good or bad for us. We shall tell you the truth.”
 
More than seven decades later, through the crucibles of the Cold War,
Vietnam, Watergate and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, VOA’s
commitment to credible news remains its life blood and an essential
part of attracting a worldwide audience of more than 160 million.
 
Unfortunately, the future of VOA’s journalistic credibility is now in
question as Congress moves to reform U.S. international broadcasting.
 
In recent weeks, scores of VOA journalists and broadcasters from
Central News, the English Division and many of the language services
have come together, concerned about the recently passed House bill,
H.R. 4490.
 
We believe that requiring VOA journalists and broadcasters to not only
report on, but promote, U.S. foreign policy would undermine our news
credibility with overseas audiences, as would taking direction from
the CIA and the Pentagon.
 
Restricting VOA to domestic news and policy would bring to a close
decades of credible, compelling, on-the-scene news and analysis from
around the world.
 
VOA is no stranger to criticism over the years.
 
As one notable visitor once put it:
 
“I know that there are those who are always critical of the Voice, but
I believe that over the years, faced with this very difficult
challenge…you have been able to tell our story in a way which makes
it believable and credible. And that is what I hope you will continue
to do in the future.”
 
The date was February 26, 1962. The place was the VOA auditorium in
this building. And the speaker was President John F. Kennedy.
 
VOA journalists welcome thoughtful, rational reform, but not at the
cost of losing our journalistic credibility. VOA can and must do
better. But it doesn’t need a new mission.
 
We respectfully ask that this board do what it can to safeguard VOA’s
journalistic credibility and the VOA Charter in whatever legislation
finally emerges from Congress.
 
Let’s keep VOA the Voice, not a government mouthpiece.
 
Thank you.

 

 

We would like to thank Mr. Gary Thomas for sending us the transcript of Mr. Malone’s remarks to the BBG Board. While the first VOA broadcast promised “The news may be good or bad for us. We shall tell you the truth,” during World War II, the Voice of America functioned as a propaganda arm of its parent agency, the Office of War Information (OWI). Within its independent agency, VOA regularly censored war news, especially those unfavorable to the Soviet Union, coordinated propaganda with the Soviets, repeated Soviet propaganda, and covered up Soviet atrocities. Non-communist audiences in Europe were appalled by VOA’s pro-Soviet broadcasts. Allied governments and many members of the U.S. Congress issued numerous warnings and protests against VOA wartime propaganda. Many of VOA’s wartime broadcasters were Soviet sympathizers. Some of these early Voice of America broadcasters later worked as journalists and diplomats for communist regimes in Eastern Europe and authored anti-American propaganda.

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