RT reposts VOA White House correspondent’s tweet

BBG Watch Commentary

The Voice of America (VOA) White House bureau chief, Steve Herman, @W7VOA, had posted a few days ago numerous tweets about a woman cyclist showing an obscene middle finger sign to President Trump’s limousine as it passed her by near Washington. He got his tweet picked up by The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, which in turn generated numerous anti-Trump comments from anti-Trump Americans on the Voice of America correspondent’s Twitter account, @W7VOA, which normally does not get much audience engagement.

The woman giving President Trump the obscene middle finger sign must have been really good propaganda for the Kremlin, because in a rare example of Russia’s RT using VOA content and not vice versa (VOA using RT propaganda content, which has been far more common), RT in this case promptly reposted VOA White House correspondent’s tweet while misspelling his name slightly, “Harman instead of “Herman,” in its report, “Cyclist flips Trump the bird as motorcade leaves Virginia golf course (PHOTO) | RT.”

The Voice of America is managed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a $740 million (FY 2017) federal government agency known for poor management and record low employee morale. VOA’s senior reporters are federal employees drawing six-figure government salaries, as do BBG and VOA top executives who are Obama administration holdovers.

We wonder how VOA director Amanda Bennett and her boss BBG CEO John F. Lansing feel about having a tweet by their chief White House correspondent picked up by both The Washington Post and Russia’s RT?

Does it fill their hearts with pride?

RT Report Using VOA Steve Herman Tweet On Obscene Gesture Toward Trump Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 7:24 PM ET.


 
 
 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

5 Comments

  1. VOAInsider

    This wins the prize for the most absurd BBG Watch post of 2017. So let’s get this straight. A VOA correspondent witnesses an event. He tweets. The tweet is picked up by outside news and propaganda services. And??? Isn’t this what we geezers in the business used to call “doing our jobs?” Honestly, there comes a point where this site embarrasses itself. And no, I’m not one of the fat and happy GS-14’s in the newsroom. I actually work for a living.

    Reply
    1. BBGWatcher (Post author)

      For a journalist, it seems that you don’t read what you criticize, and you launch ad hominem attacks on other journalists for pointing out some serious issues at U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 million part of $740 million BBG) Voice of America, which is exactly what may be the root of the problem if you are working there. You mistakenly assert that we had criticized the VOA journalist for doing his job of reporting on public criticism of President Trump, as trivial as it was. We said we did not. We said that public criticism of President Trump should by all means be reported by VOA according to the VOA Charter. Our criticism went far deeper than that. The first thing any journalist should learn is to read carefully what was said or written before reporting, criticizing anything or offering his or her opinion.

      As you may recall, if you are sometimes looking at VOA online content, the very same VOA correspondent tweeted a few days later other media reports claiming that the recent New York terrorist attack was an example of “road rage.” He was not an eye witness to the terror attack and it was not, as it turned out, “road rage” that caused the horrific attack. It was terrorism and fanaticism.

      There were several points we were trying to make in our commentary which you seemed to have missed.

      The first one was whether the VOA Charter applies to tweets by VOA correspondents. In our view it does and it should at all times.

      The motivation for the obscene sign tweet turned out by chance to be accurate; the New York terror attack tweet was accurate in reporting on what other media said but it turned out to be wrong on critical facts. But in both cases, when we look at all the tweets, the VOA Charter seems to have been ignored. In the first example, it was ignored on the point of balance. In the second example, it was ignored on all points.

      Several questions should be asked.

      If the vast majority of tweets by any VOA correspondent are critical of a particular American politician, why doesn’t the VOA correspondent also tweet in more or less equal amount about expressions of support for the politician who presumably has supporters because he or she had gotten elected and beat their opponents, if not by popular vote than by the electoral vote? If he or she does not follow the rules of the Charter, why not?

      Because the VOA Charter seems to require it, as difficult as it may be in a very short form. We would not want any VOA correspondent tweeting that MSNBC reports a North Korean nuclear attack on the U.S. and that the U.S. is retaliating against North Korea if that is the only source of such information.

      The other question to ask is why tweets by VOA correspondents get so few audience engagements on their own (a few dozen at best), but when they are picked up by The Washington Post or The Huffington Post, they can get hundreds. They are rarely picked up by U.S. domestic media, but when they are, they are almost exclusively picked up by some of the most liberal media. When you look at the comments they generate from The Washington Post readers, they are almost 100% anti-Trump. That is an accurate reflection of what The Washington Post readers think.

      But what happens to the views of Americans who voted for Trump and support him?

      Why do tweets by VOA correspondents generate anti-Trump comments from Americans — not foreigners — although the U.S. law says that VOA shall not attempt to influence U.S. public opinion?

      These correspondents may not be trying specifically to influence U.S. public opinion, but the end result is that they are and that they have very little impact abroad.

      All of this is done at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

      There is also the question of priorities. If a VOA correspondent tweets every time Trump sneezes the wrong way, he or she may not have time to tweet about events or statements that foreign audiences — not readers of The Washington Post or The Huffington Post — may actually care about, such as the White House Press Statement on the National Day for the Victims of Communism on the anniversary of the Bolshevik coup in Russia in 1917.

      So keep in mind that the VOA Charter calls for more than “what we geezers in the business used to call ‘doing our jobs’.”

      It calls for VOA to be always super accurate and to reflect all of America — not just the opinions of the VOA correspondents and the readers of The Washington Post. These American readers may be right or wrong, partly right or party wrong, but they are not the only segment of America that the Voice of America must report on.

      VOICE OF AMERICA BROADCASTS

      206Title V of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 is amended by adding the following new section:

      503The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio. To be effective, the Voice of America must win the attention and respect of listeners. These principles will therefore govern Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts:

      1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.

      2. 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.

      3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies. (Public Law 94-350)

      Reply
      1. VOAInsider

        Thanks for your long, tedious, sanctimonious reply. Let’s review the original post:

        “The Voice of America (VOA) White House bureau chief, Steve Herman, @W7VOA, had posted a few days ago numerous tweets about a woman cyclist showing an obscene middle finger sign to President Trump’s limousine as it passed her by near Washington.”

        Did this happen or didn’t it? Did he make it up?

        “He got his tweet picked up by The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, which in turn generated numerous anti-Trump comments from anti-Trump Americans on the Voice of America correspondent’s Twitter account, @W7VOA, which normally does not get much audience engagement.”

        So? It’s called “social media.” That’s how it works.

        “The woman giving President Trump the obscene middle finger sign must have been really good propaganda for the Kremlin, because in a rare example of Russia’s RT using VOA content and not vice versa (VOA using RT propaganda content, which has been far more common), RT in this case promptly reposted VOA White House correspondent’s tweet while misspelling his name slightly, “Harman instead of “Herman,” in its report, “Cyclist flips Trump the bird as motorcade leaves Virginia golf course (PHOTO) | RT.””

        Hilarious. You must have been asleep when U.S. intelligence agencies and many, many media outlets reported that if anything, the Kremlin’s trolls and bots were working overtime against Hillary Clinton, posting and spreading false information on pro-Trump and pro-Bernie pages.

        “The Voice of America is managed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a $740 million (FY 2017) federal government agency known for poor management and record low employee morale. VOA’s senior reporters are federal employees drawing six-figure government salaries, as do BBG and VOA top executives who are Obama administration holdovers.”

        Yes, we know, because you’ve cut and pasted this para, or a similarly worded version, in just about every post, on every subject, published on this site. Over and over and over and over.

        “We wonder how VOA director Amanda Bennett and her boss BBG CEO John F. Lansing feel about having a tweet by their chief White House correspondent picked up by both The Washington Post and Russia’s RT?”

        Picked up by WaPo: probably pretty happy. Picked up by RT: not so much, but ultimately, who cares?

        As for your response, it’s basically a long-winded and condescending collection of logical fallacies. Sad!

        Does it fill their hearts with pride

        Reply
        1. BBGWatcher (Post author)

          We were merely encouraging you to read before writing. There is nothing sanctimonious about wanting journalists to read. You still seem to have missed that BBGW did not question the accuracy of the cyclist tweet or even that it was posted. Our questions were about balance, lack of audience engagement abroad, and VOA’s one-sided impact in the United States. We did question the accuracy of the VOA tweet that the New York City attack was due to “road rage.” Such tweets, even if they quote other media, can be extremely dangerous in such sensitive situations. What if someone in New York decided to go to the affected area based on the VOA tweet that it was nothing more than “road rage” and the terrorist was still on the loose and potentially still very dangerous? People could have died. What if VOA reporter tweets something completely inaccurate in any potential future U.S.-North Korea confrontation. If North Korea believes in such a tweet it could have truly disastrous consequences. That’s why it is our firm opinion that all VOA reporters must follow the VOA Charter at all times, whether they tweet or do anything else. If you did not witness something with your own eyes, don’t tweet unless you can confirm the information 100%.

          Reply
  2. Watchdog for VOAInsider

    One has to wonder if VOAInsider took the “mandatory” journalism training classes ordered by VOA management, which were supposed to address, according to the official email description, political biases and social media practices (see below). VOA is filled with people who think they are working for just another media outlet. No, actually not. There is, or should be, a higher level of expectation, and implementation, that goes beyond just knee jerk Tweets that VOA reporters put out because they are desperate to show that they . . . exist.

    “This workshop will tackle one of the toughest challenges for any journalist-how to be fair and thorough even while covering a highly emotional and divisive issue. We will use real stories from the news to help you detect words, images and sources that may be sending signals to your audience about your own opinions. We will touch on how a journalists’ private life including private social media postings can influence public opinion about that person’s journalism and about the news organization’s reputation as well. The workshop will be practical and highly interactive.”

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.