RT and Voice of America both fanned anti-U.S. flames after Trump’s Jerusalem decision

BBG Watch Commentary

Former CNN correspondent in Russia Jill Dougherty, who also had a brief stint early in her journalistic career with the Russian Service of the Voice of America (VOA), observed on her Facebook page that: “Just like the bad old Cold War days…Russian state-aligned media highlight Trump admin decision on Jerusalem to fan flames of anti-Americanism. (‘Tump has opened the gates to Hell: The US has picked a fight with Muslims over Jerusalem.’)”

Jill Dougherty was absolutely right. But when we compared headlines and reports from the Voice of America against RT and SPUTNIK, they were not much different in their sensational anti-Trump headlines and one-sided treatment of the issues without any serious attempt to present a wider range of American views.

Of course, VOA should have reported on protests against President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem. But the way both VOA and Russia’s RT reported on the whole issue was remarkably geared toward scoring propaganda points either against the United States, in the case of RT, and against Trump, in the case of VOA reporters and editors. Propaganda is the art of repetition. Both RT and VOA repeated the same themes and the same photos and videos. The fact that VOA posted one report in which support for President Trump’s decision was expressed does not change the fact that it had dozens of singularly one-sided reports with provocative headlines, images and videos — almost like Russia’s RT. If anything, some of RT’s reports had more balance and more variety of different viewpoints. RT has posted several report condemning anti-Semitism in the context of the protests in the Middle East and in Western Europe. “Germany condemns anti-Semitism & Israeli flag burning at pro-Palestinian rallies in Berlin (VIDEOS)” | RT and “EU top diplomat Mogherini condemns ‘all attacks on Jews everywhere’” | RT or “Czech president brands EU ‘cowards’ over stance on Trump’s Jerusalem move” | RT. But the majority of RT reporting was closer to this anti-Israel theme: “Erdogan slams Israel as ‘terrorist state’ that ‘kills children’” | RT, although unlike many of VOA’s one-sided reports, this RT report included a response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists” said Netanyahu, adding that Erdogan “helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.”

“That is not the man who will lecture us.”

VOA’s reporting on Trump’s decision on Jerusalem was singularly anti-Trump and anti-Israel, but some VOA Newsroom reporters, editors and a few VOA managers and executives have already shown their extreme anti-Trump bias and the senior VOA management and top leaders of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) have done close to nothing to stop such bias. Some VOA newsroom reporters regularly refer to Trump with F-words and a few even posted obscenities about Trump on their personal but public Facebook pages.

One could say that in reporting on the protests over President Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, U.S. taxpayer-funded VOA and Russia’s RT almost worked hand in hand, with VOA showing even more of the same “days of rage” propaganda themes and anti-Trump and anti-Israel bias than the notoriously propagandistic and anti-American RT. It also seems that at least in this case, RT reports had slightly more balance than VOA reports and reflected more of the diverse viewpoints from the U.S. and Israel than the majority of VOA reports.

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Featured Image: Voice of America VOA Video Screen Shot 2017-12-11 at 12:09 PM ET

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