BBG Watch Commentary
According to Secretary Kerry, “Today’s Broadcasting Board of Governors is not the BBG of a few years ago.” The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) — with the notable absence of two members — met today with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “to discuss the BBG’s work and impact on key global issues.” A BBG press release said that “Secretary Kerry praised the BBG and CEO Lansing for the tangible improvements they have made to U.S. international broadcasting media.”
“Today’s Broadcasting Board of Governors is not the BBG of a few years ago,” Secretary Kerry said.
“What’s Kerry been smoking. The BBG is not the BBG of a few years ago? Right. It’s worse than ever,” was a comment we received from a former, award-winning Voice of America correspondent who had reported for VOA for many years from various countries abroad and from the United States.
Why did it take Secretary Kerry so long to meet with current BBG members? Some of them already serve on expired terms.
If the BBG is no longer dysfunctional and completely dependent along with BBG CEO John Lansing on the failed BBG bureaucracy, why were two BBG members, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Dr. Leon Aron, absent from such an important meeting and “a meaningful conversation” with Secretary Kerry?
UPDATE: Official BBG sources said that Ambassador Crocker and Dr. Aron were scheduled to be there but unfortunately had last minute personal issues that prevented their attendance – one governor had a death in the family and the other had a flight cancellation. But the question remains, if the BBG is such an important institution, why couldn’t the meeting with Secretary Kerry be rescheduled for a later date so that all BBG members could attend it and benefit from it?
And yet neither John Lansing, who has no prior foreign policy, public diplomacy or government service experience, Secretary Kerry, an ex officio BBG member, his representative on the BBG board Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Rick Stengel, BBG Chair Jeff Shell, any other BBG member, temporary head of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Nenad Pejic, RFE/RL editors in Prague and BBG officials in Washington noticed just a few days ago that RFE/RL had engaged on Facebook in messaging that could only be described as taking the ISIL side against Israel and possibly encouraging terrorists to attack innocent Israelis and other civilians.
It took several days and reporting by BBG Watch before RFE/RL took down this anti-Israel Facebook message accusing Israel of “wholesale racism.”
We go back to the BBG press release, “BBG Meets With Secretary Kerry, Shares Key Priorities Of The Board.”
BBG PRESS RELEASE: “Today’s Broadcasting Board of Governors is not the BBG of a few years ago,” Secretary Kerry said. “Much-needed change has come to one of the U.S. government’s most critical agencies, and it couldn’t have come at a more important time. With the decrease in press freedoms around the world and the increase in extremist propaganda and disinformation, access to the truth is more important than ever. I applaud the reforms that BBG’s new leadership has already taken, and I congratulate CEO John Lansing for the energy and enthusiasm he has brought to the organization.”
SEE: ‘Wholesale racism’ in Israel: RFE/RL Facebook message paid by U.S. taxes, BBG Watch, March 27, 2016
If pro-ISIL messaging by U.S. taxpayer-funded RFE/RL, which the BGG has failed to provide with permanent leadership for over two years, was not enough, RFE/RL also posts reports which are nothing but Kremlin propaganda.
On April 1, 2016, BBG Watch commented:
BBG WATCH: This is not an April Fools Day Joke, as much as we wished it to be.
“’Radio Free Kremlin’ — because more and more frequently U.S. taxpayer-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) gives Kremlin propaganda free distribution worldwide without challenging Kremlin’s false and misleading narratives. But while such free amplification of Putin’s narrative by RFE/RL at U.S. taxpayers’ expense happens, it is not characteristic of the media outlet’s overall output. Still, RFE/RL’s effectiveness has been significantly compromised in recent years and in recent months.”
READ MORE: RFE/RL as Radio Free Kremlin, Not An April Fools Day Joke, BBG Watch, April 1, 2016
On April 14, 2016, BBG Watch reported that “These days, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) itself promotes on its English-language website and social media some of the same Putin clips offered by Russia’s propaganda outlets SPUTNIK and RT.”
See for yourself.
Facebook – RFE/RL
Facebook – SPUTNIK
Voice of America (VOA) is not far behind RFE/RL in falling for Russian propaganda.
On March 24, 2016, BBG Watch commented:
BBG WATCH: There may be a curious convergence between at least some Voice of America and Russia’s RT news reports on Turkey, both in December 2015 when the RT launched in earnest its accusations against Turkey over alleged illegal oil trade with ISIS, and in March 2016 when RT started to blast Turkey over alleged mistreatment of refugees. Our online search showed that the number of news reports in which actions of the Turkish government are presented in an unfavorable light has increased recently not only on RT, but also on the Voice of America English news website.
READ MORE: Curious convergence? Voice of America and RT on Turkey, BBG Watch, March 24, 2016
On March 10, 2016, BBG Watch commented that an open letter from an Nigerian to President Obama and the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture made allegations that substandard journalism in Voice of America news reporting may be providing encouragement to Boko Haram terrorists.
BBG WATCH: The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has posted today (March 10, 2016) on its official website a statement referring to accusations that the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service news coverage is skewed in favor of Boko Haram terrorists. The Nigerian government’s statement urges VOA to correct the perception of biased reporting.
Voice of America Africa Division and Hausa Service managers on a visit to Nigeria have denied allegations of skewed reporting, calling them “unsubstantiated.” A Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) official called them “pretty absurd.”
A recent statement issued by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. Congress referred to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency which manages VOA, as “This Broken Agency … Losing the Info War to ISIS & Putin.”
Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who met this week with VOA managers, has appealed to VOA to ensure a more balanced coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency.
READ MORE: Nigerian government: accusations Voice of America skewed in favor of Boko Haram, BBG Watch, March 10, 2016
A senior BBG oficial points her finger at Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and reportedly tells him that his concerns about poor VOA journalism giving encouragement to Boko Haram terrorists are absurd.
READ MORE: Open letter from Nigeria to President Obama accuses Voice of America Hausa Service of helping Boko Haram terrorists with unprofessional reporting, BBG Watch, March 8, 2016
In conclusion, BBG Watch can only repeat a comment received from a former award-winning Voice of America foreign and domestic correspondent:
“What’s Kerry been smoking. The BBG is not the BBG of a few years ago? Right. It’s worse than ever,”
BBG PRESS RELEASE
WASHINGTON – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) met today with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the BBG’s work and impact on key global issues.
Secretary Kerry was briefed on a range of issues, including the Board’s journalistic mission to counter ISIS and Russian misinformation with objective reality-based journalism. The Board told the Secretary that its first order of business is to position the BBG as an impactful tool of U.S. global policy in the challenging 21st century media environment. This would enable the agency to more effectively achieve its mission of producing objective and professional journalism and telling America’s story to the world.
Secretary Kerry praised the BBG and CEO Lansing for the tangible improvements they have made to U.S. international broadcasting media.
“Today’s Broadcasting Board of Governors is not the BBG of a few years ago,” Secretary Kerry said. “Much-needed change has come to one of the U.S. government’s most critical agencies, and it couldn’t have come at a more important time. With the decrease in press freedoms around the world and the increase in extremist propaganda and disinformation, access to the truth is more important than ever. I applaud the reforms that BBG’s new leadership has already taken, and I congratulate CEO John Lansing for the energy and enthusiasm he has brought to the organization.”
Secretary Kerry was also briefed on the BBG’s five priorities:
Accelerate a dramatic shift to digital and social media
Concentrate its focus on key foreign policy priority audiences and geographic areas
(ISIL and Violent Extremism, Russia & the Russian Periphery, China, Iran, Cuba)
Enhance strategic cooperation across the BBG’s five independent networks
Curate, commission and acquire external content
Better measure impact and hold ourselves accountable for success
About the BBG
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media. Its mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti). BBG programming has a measured audience of 226 million in more than 100 countries and in 61 languages.
BBG Public Affairs
END OF BBG PRESS RELEASE