BBG Watch Guest Commentary
U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) failed to report on its main voanews.com English language website targeting global audiences about ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos’ failure to disclose more than $50,000 in gifts he made to the Clinton Foundation while he was covering Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and foundation controversies. VOANews.com also failed to report on his apology for not revealing these contributions.
The mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency which oversees VOA, is “to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.” The VOA Charter (Public Law 94-350) says that “VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” It also says that “VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.”
An American journalist who prefers to remain anonymous sent us a commentary which suggests that the Voice of America has once again failed to report U.S. news to the world in accordance with its Charter and mission paid for by American taxpayers.
Journalism 101: A Thought Experiment
Imagine that your job is to provide news to people in countries where news
is suppressed or biased.
Then imagine that you hear a former top political aide to a big oligarch in
one of these countries is now the head political reporter for one of the
leading national television news networks.
You think to yourself: These poor developing countries… That’s not how
it’s supposed to work.
You also hear that this guy – let’s call him Georgiy Stefanovich – subjects
a critic of the oligarch and his wife to a bruising public interview, and
then people find out that all this time Georgiy’s been privately
contributing to the oligarch’s “foundation”.
It’s a big scandal. Everybody in the country is talking about it. It’s even
making news in other countries. It would seem to be a perfect story for you
because it shows how important objectivity is to journalism, and how
damaging it is to all journalists when something like this is allowed to
Do you cover it?
(A search of the Voice of America website using the key words “abc, clinton, george stephanopoulos” found zero matches for the latest scandal.
(Maybe I spelled it wrong.)