BBG Watch Commentary

The Voice of America (VOA), the official U.S. taxpayer-funded media outlet targeting overseas audiences but also seen on the web in the United States, is asking in a news report whether President Trump thinks immigrants are animals. The question was inserted by VOA in bold letters as a subheading in a VOA news report.

Without providing any meaningful context, without mentioning the official explanation from the White House which had already been issued, and without noting that earlier media reports attributing President Trump’s “animals” remark with reference to violent gang members but without mentioning gang members and making it appear as if he were discussing ordinary immigrants, have been criticized by other U.S. media, by Trump himself and by his press secretary as misleading, a report on the U.S. taxpayer funded Voice of America still attempted later to create the impression that President Trump was “maybe referring to some undocumented immigrants” without specifying that he was in fact referring to MS 13 gang members who commit heinous violent crimes.

The VOA news report in a newly started series “(Im)migration News Recap” added: “It’s not the first time he’s used incendiary language in the immigration context.”

The only way anyone reading this particular VOA news report online could learn that there was much more to this story would be by clicking on “President Donald Trump” link without being given any indication what the link was about. It was a link to a Reuters news report posted on the VOA English news website a day earlier which provided some context for the remark and background on the controversy over how some media reported on it. Those not clicking on the link would have no idea about the context of President Trump’s remark from the VOA report they were reading. It is also puzzling why the official media outlet of the United States would use a wire service agency news report about a controversy involving the President of the United States and not present its own full report reflecting all sides of the story from the domestic American perspective as foreign audiences might expect VOA to do.

Here is the segment from the VOA report which had no context or a discussion of any controversy over the “animals” remark. We also repost the full VOA report after our commentary.

 

 
VOICE OF AMERICA
 
Immigrant ‘animals’?
 
“These aren’t people, these are animals,” President Donald Trump said — maybe referring to some undocumented immigrants. It’s not the first time he’s used incendiary language in the immigration context. Mexico, for its part, is not having it — especially after Trump added that Mexico “does nothing” for the United States. (Mexico is the country’s #3 trading partner.)
 

 
Mexico’s government said it would file a formal complaint with the U.S. State Department over the remarks.

 
END OF VOICE OF AMERICA SEGMENT
 

 

The timestamp on the VOA report is 3:00PM EDT, May 20, 2018. President Trump posted a tweet in early morning of May 20 saying: “Fake News Media had me calling Immigrants, or Illegal Immigrants, “Animals.” Wrong! They were begrudgingly forced to withdraw their stories. I referred to MS 13 Gang Members as “Animals,” a big difference – and so true. Fake News got it purposely wrong, as usual!” The VOA report, (Im)migration News Recap, May 13-19 failed to mention his response or the response from the White House Press Secretary.

The VOA Charter (Public Law 94-350), as posted on the official website of VOA’s parent federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), says that “VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.” The VOA Charter also mandates that “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.” The Charter further mandates that “VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”

The Voice of America director Amanda Bennett who was appointed during the Obama administration has indicated to the VOA staff her deep personal interest in immigration issues. Her official VOA bio says that “Together with her husband, Donald Graham, she was a co-founder of TheDream.US, which provides college scholarships to the children of undocumented immigrants.”

In early January 2017 Donald Trump took the oath of office on the Bible held by his immigrant wife Melania Trump. We think that the news report for an international audience, and incidentally also for a U.S. audience, from the taxpayer-funded Voice of America should have been more objective, more comprehensive and more in line with the VOA Charter.

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END OF BBG WATCH COMMENTARY

 
 
 

 

VOICE OF AMERICA REPORT

 
[As accessed on the VOANews.com website at 3:00PM EDT, May 20, 2018]  

USA

 

(Im)migration News Recap, May 13-19

 
May 18, 2018 4:02 PM
 
Victoria Macchi
 
[AP Photo used by VOA is not reposted here. It showed demonstrators carrying signs “IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” and “OUR STRENGTH STEMS FROM OUR ROOTS.”]  
Supporters of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA) and others demonstrate outside the U.S. District Court 9th Circuit in Pasadena, California, May 15, 2018.
 
Editor’s note: With four people working on (im)migration stories every day, we still struggle to keep up with all of the relevant news. So, we wanted a way to keep you updated with the top immigration, migration, and refugee stories every week — the ones that will most affect you, our international readers, viewers and listeners. We want you to know what’s happening, why, and how it could impact your life, family or business.
 
Questions? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: ImmigrationUnit@voanews.com

 
Another week, another try at immigration reform
 
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill tried to keep the momentum going from last week to get some immigration reform going in Congress. Democrats and some Republicans are involved, and the bipartisan effort is spilling into other legislation: An agriculture bill stalled Friday, with all Democrats and dozens of Republicans blocking it.
 

 
H2B visa holders pick crab meat at GW Hall & Son Seafood in Maryland. The state has 20 licensed crab businesses, employing 500 foreign workers. (A. Barros/VOA)
 
[AP Photo used by VOA is not reported here.]  
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable on immigration policy in California, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, May 16, 2018, in Washington.
 

Immigrant ‘animals’?
 
“These aren’t people, these are animals,” President Donald Trump said — maybe referring to some undocumented immigrants. It’s not the first time he’s used incendiary language in the immigration context. Mexico, for its part, is not having it — especially after Trump added that Mexico “does nothing” for the United States. (Mexico is the country’s #3 trading partner.)
 

 

Mexico’s government said it would file a formal complaint with the U.S. State Department over the remarks.
 

 
Business owners crabby over worker shortage
 
‘Tis the season for crab-picking, but seasonal laborers are in short supply — leaving companies that live off the sea feeling the pinch.
 

 
Turkey’s Little Syria
 
Displaced Syrians fleeing Islamic State and years of civil war have turned a Turkish road into “Aleppo Street” with their businesses — to mixed reactions from neighbors. Watch VOA’s report here.
 

[Photo used by VOA is not reposted here.]  
Brooklyn College students walk between classes on campus in New York, Feb. 1, 2017.
 
The after-school program that’s getting more popular
 
More foreign students are choosing to stay and work for a short time after they finish college in the U.S. under a program that allows them to train in their field, according to a new report. The news comes as foreign student enrollment has dropped since the presidential election in 2016.
 

 
END OF VOA REPORT
 
 
 

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