BBG Watch Commentary
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists have sent us a number of examples of recent programs which, in their view, show the U.S. taxpayer-funded organization in a state of poor management and confusion about its U.S. Congress mandated mission to provide “fair and objective news, analysis, and discussion of domestic, regional, and international issues crucial to healthy democracies and free markets.” RFE/RL, with its base in Prague, Czech Republic, is overseen by the highly dysfunctional and mismanaged Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington. BBG’s stated mission is: “to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.” An RFE/RL journalists called some of these programs “a shameful waste of the US taxpayers’ money.”
RFE/RL JOURNALIST: “This is how Current Time [RFE/RL and Voice of America (VOA) Russian-language TV/online program] is countering Russian propaganda… with bad-taste sexual allusions about cows in the introduction [after several weeks online, the text of the introduction was removed by RFE/RL], and even more in the actual clip. Disgusting.”
RFE/RL video’s introduction was subsequently removed after several weeks online, but the video with its poor-taste sexual innuendoes remains online. Its production was paid for by U.S. taxpayers. The screenshot of the RFE/RL introduction below was taken before it was removed.
This could have been a report about a serious social problem in Russia if presented in a broader context, but it was made look ridiculous to its audiences by sexual allusions in the introduction and in the video. One wonders if highly-paid RFE/RL executives even bother to look at what appears on the RFE/RL websites. Key RFE/RL and BBG executives were appointed during the Obama administration and have not yet been replaced. Attracting online audience with lighter content can be justified but not if it is done in a crude way that makes the organization, its mission and its brand appear ridiculous and running a media outlet operating without appropriate standards or controls.
RFE/RL: Working on a Russian dairy farm can be tough. It’s a dirty job, with low pay, and long hours. Yelena Garayeva describes life as a milkmaid in the Ural village of Shumikha as “hell.” But there’s one person in the barn who seems to enjoy her job, the cow inseminator. (Current Time TV)
RFE/RL journalists have also highlighted this RFE/RL English-language video which in their view has very little to do with RFE/RL’s mission.
RFE/RL JOURNALIST: “Hard to see how stories like this advance and promote free societies, democracy and human rights in Central Asia. Again, a shameful waste of the US taxpayers’ money:
RFE/RL: “The world championship in kokpar or kok-boru — an ancient equestrian sport in which a goat carcass is traditionally used as a ball — got off to a contentious start when organizers briefly barred the Kyrgyz team from playing in a dispute over horseshoes.”