BBG Watch Commentary EXCLUSIVE
A video reposted on December 1, 2016 by a Voice of America (VOA) reporter on a personal but publicly accessible Facebook page and still visible as of November 21, 2017, includes 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 refers to Donald Trump as “F*ckface Von Clownstick” in a Facebook post still remaining online.
WARNING: Some readers may find the content in VOA reporters’ Facebook posts to be obscene or otherwise offensive. If you are offended by such content, do not read or view this post. BBG Watch is reposting some of the Facebook posts, images and videos to document the work of VOA reporters who are U.S. federal government employees. Showing this content does not mean that BBG Watch agrees in any way with these posts by a handful of VOA reporters. Most VOA journalists, especially in VOA language services, do not post such objectionable content, although the VOA Ukrainian Service posted a video on the official VOA Facebook account in which Donald Trump was called “punk,” “dog,” “pig,” “con,” “buls**t artist,” “mutt,” “idiot,” “fool,” “bozo,” and “blatantly stupid,” without any balance and response. That video was eventually removed. The videos and images in this commentary still appear on Facebook pages of individual VOA reporters.
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 original video, reposted on the VOA reporter’s Facebook page, was attributed to: Flo & Joan. The VOA reporter did not produce this video. This particular VOA reporter does not specifically identify in the “About” section of the Facebook page as working for the Voice of America, but the page’s timeline includes numerous posts of the reporter’s work for the Voice of America and other references to VOA, including the official picture I.D. as a VOA reporter and links to VOA videos and news reports.
The U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America is experiencing such a profound meltdown of leadership, good management, and journalistic objectivity that some of its English Newsroom and English programs reporters have kept on their personal social media pages offensive and in some cases obscene anti-Trump videos and memes even though one of their colleagues has been accused of posting obscene right-wing content under an online pseudonym and without an obvious identification with VOA.
The latest reported allegations of right-wing bias on personal social media posts are against one person, a VOA reporter who apparently did not disclose publicly his identity or his connection with VOA but was identified as the alleged perpetrator in media reports. The incident is still under investigation.
In the case of far more numerous anti-Trump social media posts by not just one but more than a dozen VOA reporters posting on social media in the last two years, most of the authors of these posts, some of them of obscene nature, have not been hiding their association with VOA. In some cases, they brag about it.
These Voice of America reporters and broadcasters apparently feel so confident that a recent restatement of VOA’s social media policies by VOA director Amanda Bennett does not apply to them or to anti-Trump posts that several of them made no effort in the last few days to remove them. Some of these obscene and otherwise offensive anti-Trump posts can still be seen on personal but publicly accessible social media accounts of several VOA English Newsroom and English programs reporters and broadcasters.
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. The posting and re-posting of highly biased or otherwise questionable social media content continued throughout 2016. It continues in 2017. Bennett claimed in June 2016 that VOA could not find the offensive posts even though they were easily found by outside journalists not only in June 2016 but also this week. Many of them have not been removed by VOA reporters to this day.
Some VOA reporters seem convinced that emails on social media policies sent by Bennett and Lansing do not apply to them or to biased anti-Trump content. The agency appears to be in a management meltdown with no one exercising effective control. Both Bennett and Lansing are Obama administration era holdovers, as is Bennett’s deputy, a former Washington Post reporter Sandy Sugawara.
The latest incident of alleged partisan hate speech at the Voice of America, this time from extreme right-wing perspective, has been described in a number of recent media reports, including an article in The Washington Post. With the exception of The Wall Street Journal, far more prevalent biased anti-Trump posts by VOA reporters have not been widely noted by mainstream U.S. media, although they have been regularly reported by BBG Watch.
In response to the Washington Post article, Amanda Bennett issued the following statement to staff on November 14, 2017:
“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 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 and is still visible on the reporters personal Facebook page where associations with VOA can be easily seen in some of the other posts.
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.
Reposted by a VOA Reporter on December 1, 2016, as seen on November 21, 2017
VOA director Amanda Bennet and BBG CEO John Lansing were warned about such Facebook posts by VOA reporters as early as June 2016. Many of these posts can still be seen online more than a year later. These were easily found on November 21, 2017.
ALSO SEE: Voice of America director informed in June 2016 about obscene Facebook posts by VOA reporters, BBG Watch, November 20, 2017.