BBG Watch Commentary
In the department of misleading news being repeated by mainstream media while the real story is exactly the opposite of what is reported, a comment made to National Public Radio (NPR) by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing stands out:
BBG CEO JOHN F. LANSING ON NPR HEARD ON MORNING EDITION, FEBRUARY 10, 2017: “It’s our job is to report all sides of a story and we have the greatest respect for whoever is the President, and their point of view is something that’s newsworthy and we report that.”
The BBG ($777 million in FY 2017), headed by John Lansing, is in charge of the Voice of America (VOA) and other U.S. taxpayer-funded media .
This U.S. government federal executive seems to have no idea how the Voice of America has covered Donald Trump and what epithets some VOA reporters who are federal employees and federal contractors have used on social media and at public events to describe the successful presidential candidate, the President-elect and now the U.S. President and his family. Perhaps he has forgotten some inconvenient facts. Otherwise we would have to conclude that he was not being fully honest with the American public.
We have prepared a list (far from complete) of some of the recent VOA Charter (U.S. law) violations at the Voice of America to help Mr. Lansing refamiliarize himself with what some of his managers and other subordinates have been up to under his watch:
[A few Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) employees, for whom Mr. Lansing is also the ultimate boss, have also engaged in one-sided attacks on Donald Trump but not nearly as much as some of their VOA colleagues.]
1. Let’s start with the memes a VOA reporter posted on Facebook during the 2016 presidential campaign. They included a GIF of a Nazi swastika swinging over Donald Trump’s face and GIF depicting Mr. Trump as a male sexual organ. These were Facebook posts accessible to the public on a personal Facebook page where the reporter self-identified as working for the Voice of America.
2. In an e-email to staff, VOA director Amanda Bennett praised a one-sided VOA Spanish Service interview with an illegal immigrant who called Trump’s immigration plan one of “hate and prejudice.” In her email to staff Ms. Bennett did not acknowledge that there is Trump’s side of the illegal immigration story.
3. A VOA foreign language service posted on the 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.
4. In another public Facebook post on a personal page, a VOA reporter called Donald Trump:
“F*ckface Von Clownstick.”
This is believed to be the first ever public use of an F-word by a Voice of America employee to describe the U.S. President.
5. Under Amanda Bennett and her deputy Sandy Sugawara, on the election night VOA managers had two pre-written “Clinton Wins” programs with no ready programs for the eventuality of Trump’s victory.
6. Voice of America director Amanda Bennett’s first message to staff after the November 8 election results were announced failed to mention Donald Trump’s name.
7. Ivanka Trump was called “First Daughter, lady, whatever…” in the skit performed by VOA newsroom reporters.
8. In the same VOA newsroom satirical skit performed on government time in a government building by government employees, Donald Trump was repeatedly called “A Joke.” “You’re a joke, you’re a joke.”
9. A mild sex joke was told at the same event about future First Lady Melania Trump. “And 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!”
10. The link to the “Trump Bingo” was prominently featured on VOA English News homepage on the presidential inauguration day. One of the description chosen by VOA to describe the U.S. President was “Disgrace.”. The Trump Inauguration Bingo was eventually removed form the VOA website.
11. A VOA English writer continued to mock President Trump and his supporters on his personal but publicly accessible Facebook page with a post: “New favorite game: spot the Trump supporter on Metro.”
12. A VOA Russian Service reporter reposted on Facebook a French Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing President Trump contemplating choices on a drink dispensing machine: “Expresso,” “Chocolat Chaud,” “Cafe Sans Sucre,” and in biggest letters next to a button, “BOMBE H,” a reference to a nuclear bomb.
13. Searches of the VOA websites and social media pages show that there are multiple “right-wing,” “fascist,” “racist” references and labels in VOA’s U.S. politics news content; there are none or almost zero “liberal,” “left-wing” references or labels in VOA News content in recent months.
Perhaps Mr. Lansing should consider issuing a correction to his NPR comment.