BBG Watch Commentary
UPDATE: As of 4:15 PM EDT, Voice of America English news website still has nothing on Vice President Biden’s announcement of President Obama’s trip to Poland, Belgium, and France in June.
A report about Obama’s trip, not from Voice of America, but from Reuters, was finally posted on the VOA English news website at about 4:20 PM EDT, about four hours after Vice President Biden made the announcement. The Reuters report on the VOA site has only five sentences as of 5:00 PM EDT. The report says nothing about Vice President Biden’s speech today and his comments about NATO’s Article Five security guarantees.
The following media outlets have reported this news, some more than three hours ago:
Speaking at the Atlantic Council conference in Washington, DC, “Europe Whole and Free,” which so far has been largely ignored by U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced that President Obama will visit Poland in June 2014 to mark the 25th anniversary of democratic elections that resulted in a victory of candidates backed by the Solidarity movement and brought about the end of communism in Poland.
Vice President Biden also announced that President Obama will also visit Brussels to consult with G-7 leaders on Ukraine and other issues and France to celebrate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Vice President Biden also said: “In response to Russian aggression America is taking steps to make clear that our allies will honor the solemn commitments under Article Five of the NATO Treaty.” “There are no and, if, ir buts about that. That is an absolute, iron-clad guarantee,” Vice President Biden added.
Vice president Biden made his announcement about President Obama’s trip to Europe shortly after 12 noon. Two hours later, as of 2:20PM EDT Tuesday, April 30, 2014, the Voice of America is still not reporting this news.
The Voice of America English news website has so far largely failed to report on the Atlantic Council conference. VOA did report yesterday that “in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday called on Russia ‘to leave Ukraine in peace.’ In a speech at the non-governmental Atlantic Council, Kerry blamed Russia for the current crisis in Ukraine, accusing Moscow of attempting to change the security landscape in eastern and central Europe.” This was not a separate report on Secretary Kerry’s speech or the conference, but two sentences inserted into an older Ukraine-related VOA news report. We did find a separate VOA English News report on Kerry’s speech, but it was short and without any video: “Kerry Says NATO Territory Inviolable,” VOA News< April 29, 2014. The VOA Russian Service had a separate online report on Secretary Kerry’s speech. The VOA Ukrainian Service has now posted online Vice President Biden’s address in English. The VOA Russian Service website still has no news on Biden’s speech and his announcement of President Obama’s June trip to Poland, Belgium, and France.
Vice President Biden’s address and his announcement of President Obama’s trip to Europe in June, which made news on other international media outlets, have not yet been reported by Voice of America on its English news website. (2:30 PM EDT)
Exceptionally bad management at the Voice of America and the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) has prompted a bipartisan group of members of Congress led by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member, to introduce H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act. The legislation is designed to improve the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters.
According to the Atlantic Council press release, the conference’s co-chairs, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, are the intellectual forces behind this bipartisan project, which will include addresses by Vice President Joe Biden (delivered), Secretary of State John Kerry, and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
At the conference, “current and former prime ministers and foreign ministers from Europe’s East and South will discuss broad strategies for securing the futures of their regions. Central and Eastern European defense ministers and NATO officials will explore the security questions that now are lit so starkly by Russia’s assaults on Ukraine and the fears of a widened conflict,” the Atlantic Council press release states.
The Atlantic Council has already posted the following videos, which could have provided a wealth of news reporting and news analysis material for the Voice of America.
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) spoke as part of the Atlantic Council’s Toward a Europe Whole and Free conference on the US role in European security. Both senators believe that events in Ukraine are vital to the transatlantic relationship, with Senator Murphy calling it “a test,” an opportunity for the United States to show that the bond with Europe is not borne of “temporary, strategy interest.”
A keynote conversation with H.E. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.