BBG Watch Commentary
A U.S. federal government employee who works as a reporter for taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) and collects a six-figure salary has reposted on a personal but public Facebook page a photo of North Korean communist leader Kim Jong-un showing his abundant black hair and a caption making fun of President Donald Trump.
The caption in the original Facebook post reposted by the VOA reporter three days ago says: “Kim Jong-un Taunts Trump with Photo of Hair Withstanding Gale-force Wind.” The Facebook post links to a New Yorker article by comedian Andy Borowitz which references widely-publicized earlier photos of President Trump with blown out hair and makes fun of him in a short satire.
Neither this nor any other VOA Newsroom reporter has been known to make fun of any other U.S. president, including Trump’s immediate predecessor former President Barack Obama or his family. Not even North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Iranian ayatollahs, or Russia’s president Vladimir Putin have been described by some of these VOA reporters with epithets and obscene memes which they have used in their public social media posts exclusively to make fun of Donald Trump.
While such public ridiculing of the U.S. president certainly shows great freedom of speech in America, it also demonstrates bias and extreme unprofessionalism on the part of some of these VOA reporters who are required by government regulations and journalistic ethics to maintain an appearance of full objectivity in their public behavior and in their reporting for the Voice of America. This behavior is especially glaring since at the same time, some VOA Newsroom journalists implied in their reports that President Trump may be trying to restrict media freedom in the United States.
At least one VOA report compared Trump’s comments about “fake media” to actions against free press by such 20th century mass murderers as Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. A VOA reporter posted this commentary on a personal but publicly accessible Facebook page just before the 2016 presidential election: “I am sharing this, on November 04 because if F*ckface Von Clownstick gets elected on Nov 8 I will not be able to say anything on Facebook against him anymore, as dictatorship will have descended on this land.” Contrary to this warning and later reports by some of VOA’s senior correspondents, media in the United States is as free if not freer than ever under Trump’s presidency.
In the past two years, several other VOA Newsroom reporters have made fun of President Trump, his wife and his daughter in a series of public Facebook posts, which included memes, photos, and videos — some of which were clearly obscene. One VOA reporter used an F-word to describe Trump.
A group of VOA Newsroom reporters also publicly ridiculed Trump, his wife Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump in a satirical performance which took place in December 2016 at the VOA federal building in Washington, DC on U.S. taxpayers’ time.
Some employees streamed audio and video portions of their jokes on Facebook, including segments in which Trump was repeatedly called a “joke” and the part in which a VOA employee shouted: “…the No. 1 top reason to love America: It’s where a woman who posed naked for a men’s magazine can be First Lady!” to the loud applause of the audience of VOA Newsroom reporters and managers.
A video reposted on December 1, 2016 by a Voice of America reporter on a personal but publicly accessible Facebook page and still visible as of November 21, 2017, included such descriptions of President Trump as “f*uck cheeto with hair” and “three cheers for f*cking Trumpy and his neo-Nazi crew.” Another VOA reporter referred to Donald Trump as “F*ckface Von Clownstick” in a Facebook post still remaining online.
During the 2016 presidential election campaign, a VOA foreign language service posted on its official VOA Facebook page a video in which Donald Trump was called by a Hollywood actor:
VOA did not attach to the video a rebuttal or a response of any kind. The video was eventually removed after protests were sent to Congress and the BBG Board.
Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett and her boss Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John Lansing were warned as early as June 2016 that VOA reporters were producing dozens of biased anti-Trump news reports and reposting obscene anti-Trump social media content, but neither took effective actions to stop such activities.
On November 14, 2017, Bennett issued a statement saying: “Voice of America has zero tolerance for public or personal racist, sexist, or politically biased social media communications. Our policies make it very clear that such behavior is prohibited. We are investigating these reports as quickly as possible and will respond accordingly.”
Bennett’s statement, however, had very little effect on highly partisan VOA reporters, some of whom still keep their obscene and biased anti-Trump videos and memes on their social media pages where they identify themselves as working for the Voice of America.
The video with obscene epithets describing Donald Trump was re-posted by a VOA reporter on December 1, 2016.
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on December 1, 2016, as seen online on the VOA reporter’s personal but publicly accessible Facebook page on November 21, 2017
The same VOA reporter wrote in a Facebook post on January 19, 2017:
Posted by a VOA Reporter on January 19, 2017, as seen online on November 21, 2017
New favorite game: spot the Trump supporter on Metro
A VOA reporter wrote in a Facebook post on November 14, 2016:
Posted by a VOA Reporter on November 14, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
Funniest hashtag seen today: #horrorclown
On November 11, 2016, the same VOA reporter reposted a photo showing a large “F*ck Trump” graffiti and a dog.
A VOA reporter wrote:
Casey [the dog] swears he’s innocent.
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on November 11, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
The VOA reporter wrote:
Casey [the dog] swears he’s innocent. [Note that the original posts were not created by the VOA reporter. They were reposted on a public Facebook page belonging to the VOA reporter.]
[This was a re-posting of another Facebook post originated by someone not associated with VOA.]
Posted by a VOA Reporter on November 9, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
Is this the entrance of Caesar? I’m throwing up inside.
Posted by a VOA Reporter on July 25, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
Go home, Bernie Bros, yer drunk
Some obscene and offensive Facebook posts by other Voice of America reporters are still on their public Facebook pages as of November 21, 2017, notwithstanding Amanda Bennett’s warning of November 14, 2017.
During the seven days since Bennett sent her email to staff, these VOA reporters took no action to remove obscene and offensive content from their personal Facebook pages. They most likely do not think that there is anything wrong with such content or they agree with BBG CEO John Lansing who told NPR in February 2017, “we have the greatest respect for whoever is the President,” even if they post such content about Donald Trump. One wonders which of the obscene memes by VOA reporters John Lansing has seen and how he could have possibly arrived at his conclusion.
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on March 6, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on March 2, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on November 4, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
I am sharing this, on November 04 because if F*ckface Von Clownstick gets elected on Nov 8 I will not be able to say anything on Facebook against him anymore, as dictatorship will have descended on this land.
Voice of America staff reporters are U.S. federal government employees, as well as journalists. The VOA Charter requires that they be at all times objective and their reporting completely accurate, balanced and comprehensive.
This anti-Trump campaign video is what one Voice of America reporter posted on a personal but publicly accessible Facebook page on which the reporter is identified as working for the Voice of America.
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on October 12, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
A VOA reporter also re-posted a GQ magazine headline “If You Vote For Trump, Then Screw You” and photo on November 7, 2016, just before the presidential election. The VOA reporter tried to pretend that the Facebook post was balanced by writing “I can have no public opinion on this race. This is a well crafted view from one side. I’ll look for and post a well crafted view from the other side.”
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on November 7, 2016, as seen online on November 21, 2017
We could not find a similar comprehensive view from the other side on this VOA reporter’s Facebook page. What we found, was the video in which Trump was called “f*uck cheeto with hair“ and many similar anti-Trump posts and re-posts.
But according to BBG CEO John Lansing, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Voice of America have no problems with disrespect for the office of the president, bias or unprofessional behavior. In a comment made to National Public Radio on February 10, 2017, John Lansing said: “… we have the greatest respect for whoever is the President … .” Both John Lansing and VOA director Amanda Bennett are holdover Obama administration era appointees still in charge of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Voice of America.
ALSO SEE: Voice of America director informed in June 2016 about obscene Facebook posts by VOA reporters, BBG Watch, November 20, 2017.