BBG Watch Commentary

BBGWatchFacebookThe way the Voice of America mishandled Sunday’s and Monday’s news coverage (Dec. 29 and 30, 2013) of the suicide terror attacks in Russia is the clearest indication that VOA is no longer able to sustain itself in the face of breaking news, and cannot deliver the news as called for in the VOA Charter.

We don’t know of a better example than this for new BBG Chairman Jeff Shell and the new Board to evaluate.

We want to thank all our volunteers who helped us monitor international media websites and their reporting on the suicide terror attacks in Russia over the past two days.

We hope that BBG members will find time to evaluate VOA English News performance. They should also check out this BBG Watch report, Voice of America British royal feast, VOA director now claims lack of resources,” which addresses the issue of management and proper use of taxpayers’ resources by VOA executives. The Voice of America English website posted not one or two but 27 (twenty-seven) separate news reports on the British royal wedding in April 2011 and five separate news reports on the British royal christening in October 2013, yet it failed to post a single report by its own correspondent on State Department reaction to the terrorist bombing in Russia on Dec. 29, 2013. These 30-plus reports on the British royalty actually mean hundreds of reports on VOA websites and broadcasts when translated by VOA’s more than 40 language services.

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 PM

UPDATE 3:00PM ET, Dec. 30: A brief reference to the NSC – White House statement on terrorist attacks in Russia has now appeared — not in an original VOA report from Washington – but in a report from Reuters posted on the VOA English website.

As of 3:00 PM ET, this report from Reuters shows only 1 (one) Facebook “Like” on the VOA site. While Al Jazeera, BBC, and RT (Russia Today) got thousands of Facebook “Likes” for their reports on the Volgograd bombings, the ones posted by VOA — late, in some cased with with wrong information uncorrected and un-updated for many hours — rarely got more than a few dozen Facebook “Likes” and Tweets.

Ambassador McFaul’s, State Department’s and White House statements on the terrorist attacks in Russia, as well as reactions of U.S. experts and ordinary Americans to these attacks, do deserve separate treatment and original reporting from the Voice of America, which is 100% funded by U.S. taxpayers to communicate about the world and America with audiences abroad.

VOA Director David Ensor
VOA Director David Ensor

It’s one thing to be a mouthpiece for someone, but another thing not to do what the U.S. law — the VOA Charter — clearly requires the Voice of America to do. VOA Director Ensor is taking his statement that “Voice of America is not a propaganda organization and it is not a mouthpiece of the White House or of anybody else” to absolute extremes.

Not reporting sufficiently and objectively on U.S. policies — as in ignoring by VOA or mentioning only in one sentence major statements on foreign policy by Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry — is, in our view, a violation of the VOA Charter. See: VOA is Nobody’s Mouthpiece, From the Director, David Ensor, Voice of America

Also see: Voice of America ignored bipartisan statements on Ukraine from Biden and McCain, BBG Watch

This is not protecting VOA’s journalistic independence but managerial and journalistic incompetence of major proportions. This is what the vast majority of VOA journalists are saying as well, according to BBG Watch sources at the Voice of America.

Amb. McFaul Facebook Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 1.20.41 PM

 
UPDATE: 2:45PM ET

The Voice of America (VOA) Russian Service is reporting on the statement posted on the White House website, in which National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden expresses U.S. condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Russia. But the Voice of America English website and websites of more than 40 other VOA language service are not reporting this news.

As of 2:45PM ET, VOA English News has also not reported at all on the U.S. State Department statement issued after yesterday’s first attack in Volgograd. Not just the U.S. government but also ordinary Americans are shocked and horrified by the terrorist attacks in Russia. The Voice of America ought to be reporting on these reactions.

The VOA English website was not updating its news yesterday for many hours on the first terror attack and did not correct disputed information, which all major international media outlets had questioned.

The VOA Russian Service was initially slow in reporting U.S. reactions to the attacks in Russia, but its coverage has improved on Monday.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) Russian Service has provided outstanding continuous news coverage of the terrorist attacks, but RFE/RL’s Russian Service, based in the Czech Republic and Russia, does not specialize in reporting U.S. reactions to worldwide audiences. This is VOA’s mission.

The VOA English website, however, still shows outdated information in reports posted Sunday and is still not reporting on U.S. reactions in any substantive way.

Ironically, Russia’s state-funded international media outlet RT (Russia Today) was quick in reporting on statements from U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul and the State Department.

RT is also reporting on other official international reactions (UN, European Union, foreign heads of government and state) to the terrorist attacks.

 

After a delay of several hours, one of the VOA reports mentioned briefly late Sunday afternoon ET Ambassador McFaul’s statement of condolences. But that particular VOA report cannot be easily found on the VOA English website and some of the other information in it is incorrect and outdated and never corrected.

In effect, the VOA English website is not reporting on U.S. reactions to the terrorist attacks in Russia and neither is the vast majority of more than 40 VOA language services.

White House NSC Russia 12-30-13

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 30, 2013
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on Attacks in Russia

The United States condemns the terrorist attacks that struck the Russian city of Volgograd and sends deepest condolences to the families of the victims with hopes for the rapid healing of those wounded.

The United States stands in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism.  The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants.

The Voice of America English website is also not informing international audiences about the State Department statement issued yesterday afternoon.

VOA English News website is still not reporting on  this State Department statement as of Monday, 2PM ET. The statement was posted online Sunday in the afternoon in Washington, DC.
VOA English News website is still not reporting on this State Department statement as of Monday, 2PM ET. The statement was posted online Sunday in the afternoon in Washington, DC.

VOA Charter, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1976 as public law in the United States, requires the Voice of America to report on U.S. news and American society.

1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.

2. 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.

3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies. (Public Law 94-350)

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 AM

UPDATE 1:00AM ET – VOA English News posts a short report at about 1:00AM ET on the second terror attack in Volgograd, “Second Fatal Blast Hits Russian City.” VOA English website was behind BBC, RFE/RL Russian Service and RT (Russia Today) in reporting this news and still has not updated its previous report on the first attack yesterday.

BBC posted its report about an hour earlier than VOA. RT and Radio Svoboda posted theirs even earlier than BBC.

VOA English News did not take advantage of posting a new report to mention the U.S. State Department statement condemning the first bombing on Sunday. That U.S. statement still remains unreported on the VOA English website and on websites of almost all VOA language services.

RT Breaking News Another Volgograd Blast 12-30-12 1230AM ETBREAKING NEWS: A New Terrorist Attack in Volgograd, RT (Russia Today), RFE/RL Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) Russian Service, and BBC are reporting that trolley bus blast in Volgograd Monday morning kills at least 10 in terrorist attack.

RT Trolley bus blast in Volgograd kills at least 10 in terrorist attack

BBC – Volgograd blasts: New deadly explosion hits Russian city

RFE/RL Radio Svoboda Russian Service Новый теракт в Волгограде

Not surprisingly, VOA English website is not reporting this news as of 12:45AM ET. It has not even updated its hours-old news report on yesterday’s (Dec. 29) terrorist attack, also in Volgograd. That report still includes information disputed by all other major international media outlets.

The VOA Russian Service website is also not reporting on the new terrorist attack in Volgograd Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 as of 12:45AM ET.

VOA Director David Ensor and Executive Editor Steve Redisch will no doubt say that the Voice of America is extra careful and checks out all facts before posting a news report. Unfortunately, this argument does not work in this case.

First of all, BBC is not exactly a careless news organization and yet it posts and updates its web news content quickly and without as many mistakes as VOA.

VOA posted late its initial report on the attack Sunday and still included inaccurate information. What is most astounding is that while media outlets such as BBC, RT, DW and others immediately corrected their reports, disputed information stayed on the VOA English website uncorrected for many hours. It is still not corrected or updated.

Second of all, much of the new and correct information came from official sources, such as the Russian government, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. If statements are posted on their official websites and all other media outlets are reporting on them, how much further checking does VOA have to do?

The sad truth is that VOA was posting news late, included wrong information, failed to correct it for many hours, failed to update its news, and did not report on the State Department statement while RT (Russia Today) did report on it.

It cannot get much worse than that.

As of 1:52 AM ET, the new VOA report shows 1 (one) Facebook Like and 12 Tweets.

As of 1:52 AM ET, RT’s (Russia Today) news report shows over 1,400 Facebook Likes and 459 Tweets.

As of 12:52 AM ET, BBC’s new reports shows 621 Facebook Likes and 1,138 Tweets.

As usual, absolutely dismal social media performance for the Voice of America English website.

This is hardly surprising since for the last few years, VOA news reporting has been late, superficial, relying on Reuters, not focusing on U.S. news and U.S. policies, and frequently simply failing to report at all on major news developments and important U.S. statements.

One bright spot for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is that, unlike the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and especially its Russian Service have been doing a terrific job reporting from Russia, although they can not be expected to report at length on U.S. reactions. That is VOA’s job that VOA is not doing.

RFE/RL has reposted online this video from Russia of the second terror attack.

Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 PM

FINAL UPDATE FOR SUNDAY, DEC. 29, 2013, 11:30PM ET

As of 11:30PM ET, the report on the terrorist bombing in Russia, featured on the VOA English website, has not been updated and corrected for hours. It includes disputed information and no reference to the State Department Statement or any other U.S. or foreign reactions that had been reported hours ago by RT (Russia Today) and other international media. This does not necessarily mean a failure on the part of VOA reporters. In the past, their suggested updates and changes often took hours to be posted online by contractors working from home and often were never posted at all.

The VOA Russian Service did slightly better, but for the last several hours it has not posted anything new on U.S. reactions. It noted Ambassador McFaul’s and State Department statements very briefly. The vast majority of other VOA languages services had nothing on the U.S. reaction and reported outdated news as posted on the VOA English website.

RFE/RL has done an excellent reporting job, but it does not focus on U.S. reactions. RFE/RL reporting from Russia was extensive and outstanding.

This is, however, a clear example of the VOA news reporting system and executive management in a state of complete meltdown.

VOA English News reported hours late on Ambassador McFaul’s statement on terror attack in Russia but that report still cannot be easily found on the VOA website. BBG Watch had to do a search of the entire site to find it. The main link on the homepage as of 10PM ET (screenshot below) is to another report that has no reference to the Ambassador’s statement. Both reports have not been updated for many hours and include disputed information that other international media outlets had corrected hours ago. VOA English News is still not reporting on the State Department’s statement condemning the attack. RT (Russia Today) had reported on Ambassador McFaul’s condolences and the State Department statement hours ago.

The VOA Russian Service was initially also a few hours behind in news reporting, but it eventually offered more extensive and more frequently updated coverage than VOA English News. Unlike VOA English website, VOA Russian website reported on the State Department statement.

VOA Russian Service reporting was not splendid by any shot, particularly during the initial several hours after the attack. But other VOA language services did far worse. They had to rely on the VOA Central Newsroom and did just as poorly as VOA English News, offering late, substandard reports with un-updated and disputed information.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has been providing excellent coverage in English. RFE/RL’s Russian Service (Radio Liberty – Radio Svoboda) has done an amazing job with continuing live coverage online using video, audio, Tweets, and providing frequent updates.

Top news headline on the VOA English homepage as of 9:50PM ET still links to a report that has not been updated for hours, includes disputed information, and does not mention statements from U.S. Ambassador McFaul and the State Department.
Top news headline on the VOA English homepage as of 9:50PM ET still links to a report that has not been updated for hours, includes disputed information, and does not mention statements from U.S. Ambassador McFaul and the State Department.

It turns out that VOA English News posted a report at about 5PM ET somewhere on its website, in which it mentions U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences in connection with the terror attack in Volgograd. This report, however, does not have a prominent link on the VOA English homepage and does not appear in the VOA Europe News section. The report itself was posted late — many hours after Ambassador McFaul’s statement appeared online and was already reported by RT (Voice of Russia).

VOA English News is still not reporting anywhere on the State Department statement condemning the attack. A report on the bombing which is featured on the homepage as the lead news does not have any references to Ambassador McFaul’s statement and includes outdated information that ought to have been corrected hours ago.

Suicide Bomber Kills 16 in Russian Train Station, VOA News, posted late afternoon ET, Dec. 29.

In other words, this report with a reference to Ambassador McFaul’s statement cannot be found unless someone does a search of the entire website. This late-posted report does not mention the State Department statement to the press by spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

VOA English News website is still not reporting on  this State Department statement as of 9:30 PM ET. The statement was posted online in the afternoon in Washington, DC.
VOA English News website is still not reporting on this State Department statement as of 9:30 PM ET. The statement was posted online in the afternoon in Washington, DC.

The report that can be seen on the homepage as of 9:20PM ET and also in the VOA Europe News section does not have any references to Ambassador McFaul’s statement or to the State Department statement. Anybody who goes to the VOA English site will see this outdated report and not the other one, which is also outdated.

Interestingly, in the VOA English website’s Europe News section, the Russia terror bombing report appears as number 5 news item after such reports as “F1 Racer Schumacher ‘Critical’ After Skiing Accident” and “French ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ Gets Constitutional Go-Ahead.”

VOA Director David Ensor and VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch should know that their English website is certainly unique in this kind of news selection and lineup even when compared to such major European international media outlets as BBC and Deutsche Welle.

This report also includes disputed information about a female bomber, which Al Jazeera, BBC, DW, RT (Russia Today) and other international media have already corrected hours ago.

LEAD VOA NEWS REPORT ON ENGLISH HOMEPAGE AS OF 9:20PM ET

The report includes disputed information about a female suicide bomber and has no references to statements by Ambassador McFaul and the State Department.

Jessica Golloher

December 29, 2013

MOSCOW — Russian officials say they believe a female suicide bomber caused an explosion that killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens Sunday at the entrance to a train station in Volgograd. The latest attack in southern Russia occurred about 650 kilometers northeast of Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympics in February.

Russia’s federal investigative committee says the bomber walked into a busy train station in Volgograd and detonated explosives just in front of metal detectors.

Vladimir Markin, who heads Russia’s Investigative Committee, said that this explosion was the equivalent of 10 kilograms of TNT.

He said there would have been many more victims if the so-called guarding system at the train station hadn’t worked. He pointed out that security did not allow the suicide bomber to get through the metal detector into the waiting hall where at the time there were lots of people because three trains were late.

This is the second recent deadly bombing in the city of around one million. In October, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop, killing six others.

Volgograd is around 650 kilometers northeast of Sochi, the site for the upcoming Winter Olympics, a pet project of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an online video, Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov has called on rebels to use maximum force to prevent Mr. Putin from staging the Olympics. Putin has maintained that the games will be safe and that the Kremlin has taken every necessary precaution.

Sochi is situated near the volatile North Caucasus region, on Russia’s southern flank. The region has seen violence for more than a decade as rebels try to establish an Islamist state. There are near-daily attacks on police and officials in the region. Critics blame the violence there on the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent.

Sunday’s train-station attack is believed to be the deadliest in three years. In 2011, 37 people were killed when Islamist insurgents bombed a Moscow airport.

On Friday, three people died in another attack some 270 kilometers east of Volgograd, in the city of Pyatigorsk.

This VOA report is on the VOA website, but as of 9:20PM ET there are no links to it on the homepage or in the Europe News section. It was posted inside the website late afternoon ET. This report, which also has not been updated in the last five hours (as of 10PM ET) also includes disputed information about a female bomber that other media such as BBC, RT, DW, and Al Jazeera have corrected many hours ago.

Suicide Bomber Kills 16 in Russian Train Station

December 29, 2013

Authorities in southern Russia say a female suicide bomber blew herself up at a train station in the southern city of Volgograd, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens.

An investigative committee spokesman says the woman set off the bomb in front of the metal detectors at the station entrance early Sunday morning.

Television footage shows a big orange fireball just inside the station as smoke pours out of the windows.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. But authorities found what they say was the bomber’s severed head. They identify her as coming from Dagestan, a republic in the nearby volatile North Caucasus.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul extendedhis condolances to the dead and injured in what he called a terrorist attack.

This attack comes weeks before the Winter Olympics open in Sochi, about 650 kilometers south of Volgograd. Islamist militants have threatened to disrupt the Games.

An attack in Volgograd by a female suicide bomber on October 21 killed five people and wounded 30. Investigators also identified her as coming from Dagestan.

Dagestan is the epicenter of an ongoing Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus.

In early July, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, Doku Umarov, declared an end to a moratorium on attacks on Russian civilian targets that he had announced the previous year.

UPDATE 8:00PM ET

We thought that a reference to a female bomber was removed by the Voice of America from a report on the VOA English website, but we found later that it is still there as of 8:00 PM ET with VOA English News failing to remove, correct and update disputed information or to include U.S. and international reactions to the terror attack in Russia.

As of 8PM ET, Dec. 29, Voice of America (VOA) is  still reports information which Al Jazeera, BBC, DW, and RT (Russia Today) had described as disputed hours ago.
As of 8PM ET, Dec. 29, Voice of America (VOA) is still reports information which Al Jazeera, BBC, DW, and RT (Russia Today) had described as disputed hours ago.

“MOSCOW — Russian officials say they believe a female suicide bomber caused an explosion that killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens Sunday at the entrance to a train station in Volgograd.” — VOA English News as of 8:15PM ET. Suicide Bomber Kills 16 at Russian Train Station

All other international media outlets have been questioning this report for hours after Russian officials themselves had stated that they are no longer sure how many people were involved and who caused the explosion.

This is what DW (Deutsche Welle) is reporting:

“A bombing at a train station in the Russian city of Volgograd has killed more than a dozen people and injured many more. Questions remain over the gender of the attacker after initial reports said the bomber was female.” — DW (Deutsche Welle) Blast at Russia’s Volgograd train station leaves more than a dozen dead

This is what BBC English News is reporting:

“Initial official claims that the bomber was a lone woman have been replaced by uncertainty about who carried it out.” — BBC ‘Suicide bomber’ hits Russia’s Volgograd train station

This is what RT (Russia Today) is reporting:

“Suicide bomber’s identity disputed

The Committee originally said a female suicide bomber detonated the bomb when she saw a police officer while approaching the metal detector.

But since then the suicide bomber’s identity has been disputed. The female was initially identified as Oksana Aslanova, a close friend of Naida Asiyalova – also known as ‘Amaturahman’ – who was behind the October Volgograd attack. Aslanova is said to have been married twice to two militants, both eliminated earlier.

A few hours later, more evidence emerged suggesting that a man could have also been involved in the attack. The version, which was also picked up by investigators, came after a male finger with a pin from a grenade was found at the scene.

Given the new information, the possibility that the attack could have been carried out by both a man and a woman is not ruled out, Markin said.” — RT (Russia Today) Suicide bomber kills 16 in Russia’s Volgograd (VIDEO)

This is what Al Jazeera English is reporting:

“Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the nation’s top investigative agency, the Investigative Committee, said the suicide bomber detonated her, the bomber was initially believed to be a women but officials later said this was not certain, explosives in front of a metal detector.” — Al Jazeera Deadly blast hits Russian train station

VOA English report on the terror bombing in Russia shows 136 Facebook Likes as of 8:15PM ET.
BBC English report on the terror bombing in Russia shows 3,795 Facebook Likes as of 8:15PM ET.
RT English report on the terror bombing in Russia shows over 2,600 Facebook Likes as of 8:15PM ET.
Al Jazeera report on the terror bombing in Russia shows 1,303 Facebook Likes as of 8:15PM ET.
DW does not show social media stats on its English website.

Ambassador McFaul'posted his statement more than 10 hours ago on his Facebook page and on his Twitter account. RT (Russia Today) reported on it soon afterwards. The VOA English website still does not mention it. Among VOA's  45 language services, it appears that only the Russian Service reported on the statement, but with a delay of a few hours and well behind RT.
Ambassador McFaul’posted his statement more than 10 hours ago on his Facebook page and on his Twitter account. RT (Russia Today) reported on it soon afterwards. The VOA English website still does not mention it. Among VOA’s 45 language services, it appears that only the Russian Service reported on the statement, but with a delay of a few hours and well behind RT.

UPDATE 7:30PM ET

As of 7:30PM ET, a reference in the VOA English report from Moscow to “a female suicide bomber” has finally been removed hours after BBC and RT (Russia Today) have already posted information contradicting this initial report.

It took VOA English News many hours to remove and correct possibly inaccurate and in any case disputed information.

[We were wrong and somehow missed that VOA did not actually remove this disputed information. It was still in the report at 8PM ET.]

As of 8PM ET, Dec. 29, Voice of America (VOA) is still reports information which Al Jazeera, BBC, DW, and RT (Russia Today) had described as disputed hours ago.
As of 8PM ET, Dec. 29, Voice of America (VOA) is still reports information which Al Jazeera, BBC, DW, and RT (Russia Today) had described as disputed hours ago.

VOA English News is still not reporting on the State Department Statement of a statement of condolences from U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, which was posted online more than 10 hours ago. RT has been reporting on both statements for some hours.

UPDATE 7:00PM ET

It has been over 10 hours since U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul issued his statement of condolences after the suicide terror attack in Volgograd, in which 16 people are reported dead, but the Voice of America (VOA) English news website has still not reported on his statement or on a later statement from the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemning the attack.

Other than changing the number of dead — but still hours later than BBC, Al Jazeera, RT (Russia Today), and RFE/RL’s Radio Liberty Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) — the VOA English website report has not been updated with any new additional information for over 7 hours.

VOA report still says: “MOSCOW — Russian officials say they believe a female suicide bomber caused an explosion that killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens Sunday at the entrance to a train station in Volgograd.”

BBC has already been reporting for some hours that “initial official claims that the bomber was a lone woman have been replaced by uncertainty about who carried it out.”

RT (Russia Today) has also been reporting for some hours that the person who set off the explosion has not been positively identified.

Suicide bomber’s identity disputed

The Committee originally said a female suicide bomber detonated the bomb when she saw a police officer while approaching the metal detector.

But since then the suicide bomber’s identity has been disputed. (…)

A few hours later, more evidence emerged suggesting that a man could have also been involved in the attack. The version, which was also picked up by investigators, came after a male finger with a pin from a grenade was found at the scene. – RT (Russia Today) Suicide bomber kills 16 in Russia’s Volgograd (VIDEO)

The VOA English website report is not being corrected and updated with any of the new information, which contradicts the VOA report and is being reported by BBC, RT, and RFE/RL’s Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) Russian Service.

Un-updated VOA English reports shows

There is also still nothing on the VOA English website on the State Department statement.

The State Department statement has now been posted online for about two to three hours.

State Department Statement on Russia Terror Attack

RT (Russia Today), BBC, and RFERL Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) have been constantly updating their news on the terror attack in Russia. VOA English website news on the attack had not been updated for more than five hours and as of 6PM ET still does not include statements from U.S. Ambassador McFaul and the State Department.
RT (Russia Today), BBC, and RFERL Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) have been constantly updating their news on the terror attack in Russia. VOA English website news on the attack had not been updated for more than five hours and as of 6PM ET still does not include statements from U.S. Ambassador McFaul and the State Department.

It took five hours to correct a news report on the Voice of America (VOA) English website first showing only 14 dead as a result of the suicide terror attack in Russia while BBC, RT (Russia Today) RFE/RL and most other international media updated their reports hours ago that the number of dead had reached 16 according to official Russian sources.

VOA English News never reported on a statement of condolences posted online more than 8 hours ago by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. RT (Russia Today) quickly reported on the U.S. Ambassador’s statement.

RT also reported on the statement from the U.S. State Department condemning the attack.

RT (Russia Today) reports on the  U.S. State Department  statement condemning the suicide terror attack in Russia and on the earlier statement of condolences posted online by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul. Voice of America (VOA) English website is not reporting on these statements as of 6PM ET, Dec. 29.
RT (Russia Today) reports on the U.S. State Department statement condemning the suicide terror attack in Russia and on the earlier statement of condolences posted online by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.
Voice of America (VOA) English website is not reporting on these statements as of 6PM ET, Dec. 29.

The Voice of America English website is also not reporting on the State Department’s statement as of 6PM ET, Dec. 29. VOA English News has also not reported on Ambassador McFaul’s statement.

VOA English News also has not reported on any world reactions to the attack. RT (Russia Today) reports on statements from the UN and the European Union.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) has provided continuous coverage with frequent updates, videos, photos, audio interviews and Twitter embeds.

Like VOA, RFE/RL is also overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

While the VOA Russian Service has updated some of its reporting, it was also slow and late.

RFE/RL’s Radio Svoboda is providing outstanding live coverage.

As of 6PM ET, VOA English report only recently updated with the correct number of dead but without any U.S. or international reactions to the attack, shows 97 Facebook Likes.

As of 6PM ET, BBC English shows over 3,000 Facebook Likes.

The State Department Statement has been posted online for more than an hour.

STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS STATEMENT

Condemning Terrorist Bombing in Volgograd

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 29, 2013

The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s terrorist attack in Volgograd. We send our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and stand in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism of any kind.

UPDATE 5:30 PM ET

VOA English News has revised its figure of dead from the attack from 14 to 16. This is the first update on the VOA English website in about five hours.

VOA English News is still not reporting on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences posted more than 8 hours ago. VOA English News is also not reporting on the State Department statement. RT (Russia Today) has reported on both Ambassador McFaul’s statement and the statement from the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

UPDATE 5:15 PM ET

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 11.27.17 AM

RT (Russia Today) reports on U.S. reactions to terror attack in Russia.
RT (Russia Today) reports on U.S. reactions to terror attack in Russia.

Russia’s state-funed international media outlet RT (Russia Today) reported that Washington has strongly condemned the terror attack in Volgograd. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity with the Russian people, RT reported. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul also expressed condolences, RT reported a few hours ago. Ambassador McFaul posted his statement of condolences online more than 8 hours ago.

The Voice of America (VOA) English news website report on the terror attack in Russia has not been updated in nearly five hours and does not include any mention of the State Department statement of the much earlier statement of condolences from Ambassador McFaul.

The VOA Russian Service has reported with a few hour delay on Ambassador McFaul’s statement. It has now also reported on the State Department statement.

The vast majority of other VOA language services are not reporting on these U.S. statements and are still giving the wrong, lower number of dead, since the VOA English Newsroom has not been updating its report.

The VOA English News report shows only 14 dead. BBC, RT, RFE/RL Russian Service, and many other major international media outlets quote official Russian sources who reported some hours ago that the number of dead now stands at 16.

UPDATE: 5:00PM ET

A report on the VOA English website on the suicide terror attack in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Russia, has not been updated with any new information for nearly five hours. The VOA Russian Service website report has been updated but with considerable delay (VOA Russian reports 16 dead, while VOA English reports 14 dead).

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) is providing outstanding continuous online coverage with numerous videos, photos, audio interviews, Twitter embeds and constant updates.

SEE: Теракт в Волгограде, RFE/RL Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda) Russian Service.

VOA Russian Service report now shows 71 Facebook Likes.

RFE/RL Radio Svoboda Russian Service report now shows 587 Facebook Likes.

VOA English report, which has not been updated for nearly five hours, now shows 61 Facebook Likes

BBC English report now shows 3,164 Facebook Likes.

RT (Russia Today) English report, which includes U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences, now shows over 2,400 Facebook Likes.

VOA English News is not reporting on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences which has been posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts for nearly 8 hours. VOA English News still reports 14 dead. BBC, RT (Russia Today), RFE/RL and most other major international media outlets have provided constant updates. They have all been reporting 16 dead quoting Russian officials for the last three of four hours.

UPDATE: 4:24PM ET

A report on the VOA English website on the suicide terror attack in Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad), Russia, has not been updated with any new information for more than four hours.

VOA English News is also not reporting on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences which has been posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts for more than 7 hours. VOA English News still reports 14 dead. BBC, RT (Russia Today), RFE/RL and most other major international media outlets have provided constant updates. They all report 16 dead quoting Russian officials.

Ambassador McFaul posted his statement more than 7 hours ago. VOA English News and more than 40 VOA language services are not reporting on it. Only the VOA Russian Service reported on it but with a delay of at least three hours. RT (Russia Today) reported on Ambassador McFaul's statement shortly after it was posted.
Ambassador McFaul posted his statement more than 7 hours ago. VOA English News and more than 40 VOA language services are not reporting on it. Only the VOA Russian Service reported on it but with a delay of at least three hours. RT (Russia Today) reported on Ambassador McFaul’s statement shortly after it was posted.

 

Un-updated VOA English report now shows 36 Facebook Likes and 28 Tweets.

BBC English report now shows 3,094 Facebook Likes and 1,455 Tweets.

UPDATE 3:45 PM ET

VOA English News still has not updated its report on the suicide terror attack in Volgograd Russia. The report has not been updated now for close to four hours. VOA English News still reports 14 dead. All major international media report 16 dead.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Radio Svoboda Russian Service provides excellent continuous coverage with live updates.

It has also been more than seven hours since U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul posted his statement of condolences on both his Facebook and Twitter account. VOA English News has not yet reported on it or on any other reactions being reported now for many hours already by BBC, RT (Russia Today) and other international and U.S. media.

Voice of America English News and VOA Russian Service have not yet reported on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's statement of condolences posted on his Facebook page.
Voice of America English News has not yet reported on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences posted both on his Facebook page and his Twitter account more than 7 hours ago.
U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul
U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul

UPDATE: 3 PM ET

We missed it earlier, but RT (Russia Today) reported at 11:20 AM ET on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences 14:20 GMT: The US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, has given his condolences to the relatives of the slain and injured in the Volgograd blast. The statement was published on his Twitter account.

The VOA English News website has still not updated its report, now for at least three hours. The headline still reads 14 dead. It is astounding that RT, Russia’s state media outlet, would report on Ambassador McFaul’s statement and VOA English News would not. The VOA Russian Service did mention the U.S. Ambassador’s statement but with a considerable delay. BBG Watch may have been the first media outlet to report it.

UPDATE: 2:45 PM ET

Al Jazeera reports at least 15 dead. VOA English News still reports 14 dead and is not updating its report. BBC, RFE/RL Russian Service, RT (Russia Today) report at least 16 dead.

Al Jazeera English report (Middle East website) now shows 1,202 Facebook Likes and 222 Tweets.

Still un-updated VOA English report now shows 26 Facebook Likes and 24 Tweets.

BBC report now shows 2,642 Facebook Likes and 1,408 Tweets.

One of the two RT (Russia Today) reports, Suicide bomber kills 16 in Russia’s Volgograd (VIDEO), RT now shows over 2,200 Facebook Likes and 1,185 Tweets.

The second RT report, Volgograd railway station blast: LIVE UPDATES, RT, now shows 981 Facebook Likes and 737 Tweets.

UPDATE: 2:35 PM ET

RT (Russia Today) reported: 19:16 GMT: UN Security Council has condemned the Volgograd bombing “in the strongest terms” and registered its condolences for the victims and their families, the body’s official statement reads.

VOA English website still has not updated its report for about three hours. The VOA English headline still refers to 14 dead. VOA English News is not reporting on any U.S. or international reactions to the suicide terror attack. Statements from U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, the European Council, and the UN are not reported on the VOA English website.

UPDATE: 2:25 PM ET

RFE/RL Radio Liberty’s Russian Service (Radio Svoboda) is constantly updating its report with new information, new interviews, videos, Tweets and other material.

Radio Svoboda reports at least 16 dead, as does BBC, RT, and many other international media. VOA English News still reports 14 dead. VOA Russian Service reports 15 dead.

RFE/RL’s Russian Service continuing coverage now has seven audio reports, including an interview with the mayor of Volgograd, three videos, and a number of embedded Tweets from eyewitnesses and commentators.

SEE: Теракт в Волгограде, RFE/RL Radio Svoboda (Radio Liberty) Russian Service.

Radio Svoboda report now shows 499 Facebook Likes and 37 Tweets.

UPDATE: 2:14 PM ET

VOA English News not updating its report for more than two hours. VOA headline still says 14 dead. BBC, RT (Russia Today) report at least 16 dead. VOA English News still not reporting on U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul’s statement.

VOA English report now shows 22 Facebook Likes and 22 Tweets.

BBC report shows 2,536 Facebook Likes and 1,389 Tweets.

VOA Russian report, which is slightly more updated than VOA English report, now shows 55 Facebook Likes and 10 Tweets.

RT reports: 16:19 GMT: The European Council has condemned “in the strongest terms the heinous” terror attack in Volgograd. The Council’s president, Herman Van Rompuy, has expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims and “solidarity to the Government and people of Russia.”

 

UPDATE: 2 PM ET

VOA English News is still not updating its report from Moscow. The headline reports 14 dead; the report says at least 14 dead. It should not be assumed that a VOA reporter in Moscow has not provided an update to the VOA Central English Newsroom in Washington, but because of general mismanagement, updates from VOA correspondents are often hours late being posted on the VOA English website.

BBC reports: “A suicide attack on a train station in Russia’s southern city of Volgograd has killed 16 people, officials say.”

VOA English reports now shows 18 Facebook Likes and 17 Tweets. BBC, RT (Russia Today) now show thousands of Facebook Likes and Tweets.

UPDATE – 1:40 PM ET

VOA English News is still not reporting on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts more than 4 hours ago. VOA Russian Service reported on it about three hours after it was posted.

 

UPDATE – 1:30 PM ET

VOA English still reports 14 dead. VOA Russian now reports 15 dead. VOA English News added a small map to its report, but it is not otherwise updating.

One of the RT reports shows over 2,000 Facebook Likes and 1,161 Tweets.

UPDATE: As of 12:50 PM ET

BBC and other media report 16 dead after the suicide terror attack in Volgograd, while VOA English News still reports 14 dead. Some media report 15 dead. VOA English website added video but did not otherwise update its report.

BBC report shows 2,227 Facebook Likes and over 1,000 Tweets.

VOA English News report shows 11 Facebook Likes and 0 (zero) Tweets.

RFE/RL English report shows 42 Facebook Likes and 38 Tweets.

RFE/RL Russian report shows 434 Facebook Likes and 35 Tweets.

VOA Russian report shows 39 Facebook Likes and 10 Tweets.

VOA Russian Service still shows 14 dead. The website now includes video and some additional text.

Like BBC and RFE/RL, RT (Russia Today) is constantly updating its reports on the Volgograd suicide terror attack. Quoting an official source, RT is also reporting at least 16 dead. VOA English and VOA Russian still show 14 dead.

“According to verified information, the explosion at the railway station in Volgograd has claimed 16 lives,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said. — RT (Russia Today)

VOA Russian is now reporting on Ambassador McFaul’s statement of condolences. VOA English News is still not reporting on the statement.

UPDATE 1:15PM ET

Voice of America English News and VOA Russian Service have not yet reported on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's statement of condolences posted on his Facebook page.
Voice of America English News and VOA Russian Service have not yet reported on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement of condolences posted on his Facebook page.

The Russian Service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is providing excellent continuing coverage of the terror attack in Volgograd, Russia, (formerly known as Tsaritsyn and as Stalingrad).

SEE: 15 погибших при взрыве в Волгограде, RFE/RL, Radio Liberty Russian Service.

RFE/RL English news website also has an excellent report.

SEE: ‘Suicide Bomber’ Kills At Least 15 At Russian Train Station, RFE/RL.

RFE/RL now reports that at least 15 people are dead as a result of the attack by a female suicide bomber.

Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 AM

UPDATE 11:30AM ET

As of 11:30AM ET, Radio Liberty’s Russian Service online report has over 1,000 words, numerous, videos, photos, and audio interviews with local officials.

As of 11:30 AM ET, the Voice of America (VOA) Russian Service still reports only 14 dead in a short 280-word report.

Взрыв на вокзале Волгограда: 14 погибших, VOA Russian Service.

The VOA English news website also reports only 14 dead as of 11:30AM ET. Until a few minutes ago, the VOA English Breaking News ticker had only 13 dead — a discrepancy between the breaking news headline and the VOA news report from Moscow.

The VOA English News first posted a Reuters report on the suicide bombing and later substituted it with a report from Moscow by Jessica Golloher. The report said that at least 14 people were killed.

SEE: Woman Suicide Bomber Kills 14 at Russian Train Station, Jessica Golloher, VOA.

The VOA English report from Moscow has 340 words. It shows one photo from Reuters, but has no videos or interviews. Neither does the report on the VOA Russian website.

While neither VOA English News nor the VOA Russian Service could compete with RFE/RL in terms of fast and extensive news coverage from Russia, VOA could have been the first to report U.S. reactions, including a statement of condolences posted on Facebook by U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul.

Ambassador McFaul’s statement has been posted on Facebook for over three hours, but so far VOA has failed to notice it and report on it.

BBG Watch may be the first to report on Ambassador McFaul’s statement.

The statement from the U.S. Ambassador posted on his Facebook page was written in Russian.

Voice of America English News and VOA Russian Service have not yet reported on U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul's statement of condolences posted on his Facebook page.

“Выражаем соболезнования родным и близким погибших и пострадавшим при теракте в Волгограде.”

“We express our condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the terrorist attack in Volgograd.”

VOA had a chance to be the first U.S. media outlet to report for its audiences worldwide on the U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s statement. VOA’s congressionally-approved Charter says that in addition to general news, VOA must specialize in reporting U.S. news with a focus on U.S. policies.

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