BBG Watch Commentary
As of 5:00 PM EDT, August 18, 2014 –
UPDATE: At about 5:45PM EDT, VOA finally included new information and changed the title of its report to “Obama: US Attorney General to Travel to Ferguson for Probe.”
While the Voice of America (VOA) English news website still has no report on President Obama’s statements earlier this afternoon on the situation Ferguson, Russia’s RT reported:
RT: “President Obama said during a Monday afternoon briefing at the White House that US Attorney General Eric Holder will arrive in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday this week to meet with Department of Justice personnel, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and local officials.”
As of 5:00 PM EDT, Aug. 18, 2014, Russia’s RT post, “Militarized US police face-off with Ferguson protesters LIVE UPDATES – RT,” shows over 5,100 Tweets and over 3,900 Facebook “Likes.”
Today’s RT report, “Autopsy reveals cop shot Ferguson teen ‘at least 6 times’ – RT,” shows over, 3,200 Facebook “Likes” and 662 Tweets, and 80 comments as of 8:30 PM EDT.
Another RT report posted today, “‘Arrest the killer of my child’: Brown’s mother pleads after autopsy – RT,” shows over 2,100 Facebook “Likes 282 Tweets and 367 comments as of 8:30 PM EDT.
Still another RT report, also posted today, “‘Get the f*** out of here!’ Ferguson cops threaten to shoot, mace reporters (VIDEO) – RT,” showed over 4,600 Facebook “Likes,” 1,000 Tweets and 226 comments as of 8:30 PM EDT.
Voice of America’s only VOA English News online report today about the situation in Ferguson, posted from Washington with a late update on President Obama’s statement, “Obama Appeals for Calm as National Guard Arrives in Missouri – VOA News” showed only 150 Facebook “Shares,” 57 Tweets, and 6 comments as of 8:30 PM EDT.
The Voice of America does not have a correspondent in Ferguson, Missouri. Many of VOA’s executives and staffers are on vacation in August. VOA reports on the situation in Ferguson are written in Washington and often not updated for many hours. VOA reports about the racial unrest show at best a few dozen Facebook “Likes” and “Tweets.”
Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) had a video report showing President Obama speaking Monday afternoon about the situation in Ferguson. Voice of America did not provide any video in its online report, which was posted late, about President Obama’s remarks.
In an apparent violation of the VOA Charter, which requires VOA news to have balance, the Voice of America report today did not mention the Ferguson police department’s claim that the victim was allegedly trying to attack the police officer and to grab his gun when he was shot and killed. Both BBC and DW reports mentioned this police claim. DW noted that the protestors in Ferguson do not accept the police story as true.
Russia’s RT apparently had a TV crew in Ferguson and posted online at least four different news reports today, to VOA’s one report, which was updated infrequently and late. In terms of social media outreach, RT beat VOA by thousands of Facebook and Twitter shares and retweets.
There was, however, one striking similarity between VOA and RT, as opposed to reporting by BBC and Deutsche Welle (DW). Neither VOA nor RT provided today the Ferguson police side of the story.
ALSO SEE: Voice of America bosses and staff on vacation, no VOA reporter in Ferguson, Missouri, BBG Watch, August 18, 2014.