BBG Watch Commentary
U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) waited days to report anything on the developing Brian Williams scandal and only posted a short report, based on AP and Reuters, after badgering by BBG Watch.
Even then some current and former VOA English news correspondents, other current and former VOA employees, as well as anonymous defenders of the VOA management team chastised us for bringing up this Voice of America news failure.
We were told that it was:
“a domestic story about an ego-driven newsreader with only minor global implications”
“irrelevant for a global audience”
“Brian Williams is unknown in Africa and Asia”
To be fair, we have also receive these comments from individuals who are either current or former VOA journalists:
Also — when you do a Google search for VOA, under the USA section, it shows the description: “Coverage of the United States by the Voice of America” That should be changed to: “Coverage of the United States by the Voice of America, when we feel like it, and whether the story meets our stringent conditions for certain overseas audiences.”
Really amazing, the comments that come from people who have worked in what always wanted to be seen as a news organization, dismissing this story as something that people overseas would not care about seeing. Yes, people are living in difficult conditions, and dying there. But that is as it always has been. Does VOA start just ignoring stories because they don’t quite match some narrower concept of what is important for certain audiences in certain places? Apparently so. BTW — Williams has now been suspended for 6 months. Wonder when the VOA story on that will go up? Probably will, but of course it took being chastised and embarrassed by BBGWatch to get the newsroom-in-name only to pout something up in the first place. It took until 8:45 Sunday morning for that to happen. What a disgrace this place has become….
Voice of America didn’t believe it was a major story or they did and chose not to feature it for their own reasons. A major news commentator from a major network lying about the news is not quite a minor story of an “ego-driven news READER.” It gets to the heart of whether or not news is being reported accurately, how networks deal with it (he’s off the air temporarily not because the network honchos want to but because of the uproar from the viewers), and the importance of news accuracy in free and unfree societies. And it’s an example of how things like this are often exposed and handled in the USofA, many times from the grassroots up.
Now that Brian Williams has been suspended for six months, the Voice of America management and those former and current VOA English news reporters who defended non-coverage of the Brian Williams should definitely stick to their guns and not report on the extended suspension of a major American TV network news anchor whose lies were exposed by average citizens, forcing him to stop reporting news to millions of people in the United States and worldwide (yes, NBC News with Brian Williams was shown in many foreign countries), at least temporarily.
BBC has a report online that Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show,” will step down later this year. As of 9:55 PM ET, Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the Voice of America main news website does not. VOA is still ignoring this story even though President Obama appeared on his show, as did Voice of America’s own broadcasters doing satirical TV programs to Iran.
VOA did report this time, although not too promptly (9:31 PM ET), on the six month suspension for Brian Williams. BBC has a report on Williams’ suspension and lists three other related stories about Williams.
We think that Voice of America management should continue to discourage reporting on this and similar U.S. media ethics and media freedom stories because such VOA reporting could give audiences in Iran, Russia, China and Cuba ideas about trying to get rid of their own state TV anchors who have been lying to them for years.
We would not want to upset these regimes and their “journalists,” would we? Or to spoil White House attempts at detente with Cuba and Iran?
Pay no attention to international radio broadcaster Keith Perron who wrote the following from Taiwan:
“If they [ Voice of America ] think Brian Williams is not known overseas, then VOA is living with their heads in the sand. The Daily Show on Comedy Central is also seen globally. To think they are only local is in one word. Idiotic.”
SEE: How can CEO Andy Lack get Voice of America to cover news?, BBG Watch, February 9, 2015.
SEE: Voice of America misremembered to cover Brian Williams story, BBG Watch, February 8, 2015.
SEE: Voice of America main news website silent on Brian Williams story, BBG Watch, February 7, 2015
By the same token, VOA should also not report on the announced retirement of Jon Stewart. He is after all not all that well know overseas.
After all, VOA failed to inform its audiences in Iran about its popular “Parazit” TV news parody show going off the air in 2012 and did not do much better when another VOA satirical news show to Iran, “OnTen” went off the air in December 2014. Both of these VOA TV shows to Iran were modeled after Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” Voice of America senior and mid-level management is blamed for the demise of both of these highly popular VOA TV shows to iran..
SEE: Another Voice of America hit show to Iran lost, management blamed, BBG Watch, February 4, 2015
One former Voice of America broadcaster observed that VOA may have to mention that the stars of VOA hit TV programs to Iran, “PARAZIT”and “OnTen,” appeared with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” but then left and the shows were canceled without hardly anyone knowing about it, not even the BBG members (at least in the case of “PARAZIT,” but the cancelation on “OnTen” due to mismanagement by senior and mid-level executives and managers also has not been properly explained to the audience).
However, the Voice of America management should promote continued extensive reporting on the British royal family, as they did in 2011 and 2013 with dozens of VOA reports on the British royal wedding and the royal christening. Under Voice of America director David Ensor (2013) and under VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch (2011 and 2013), both of whom are still here today (2015), the Voice of America reported with remarkable promptness and comprehensiveness on the British royalty.
Keep up the good work. Don’t be distracted by non-stories from the United States.
BBG Watch Commentary
DECEMBER 31, 2013
U.S. taxpayers paid for these programs by the Voice of America (VOA) while many human rights-related news stories and important U.S. foreign policy pronouncements by the White House, the State Department, and members of Congress went unreported on VOA websites in recent months and years.
Years and months later, these reports on the British royalty posted on the VOA English website show zero or very few Facebook “Likes” or any other indication of any notable audience engagement through social media.
IF YOU ARE A U.S. TAXPAYER YOU MUST CHECK THIS OUT
Excited Crowds Fill London Streets for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Royal Wedding Ceremony Steeped in Grandeur, Tradition Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Kate Middleton Wears Wedding Dress by Sarah Burton Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Wedding Celebrations Held in Streets Across Britain Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Americans Rise Early for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Celebrities, Sports Stars Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Hopes for Billion-Dollar Economic Boost from Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
Crowds Gather for Britain’s Royal Wedding; Syrian Diplomat Pulled Off Guest List Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
London Readies for Royal Wedding Day Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
Formal Clothing, Informal Speeches Typical at British Weddings Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 26, 2011 8:00 PM
British Public Divided Over Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Preparing Security for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Royal Wedding: From Cake to Clergy Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Bahrain Prince Declines British Royal Wedding Invitation Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM
David Beckham, Elton John Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Notes Big Change in Royal Wedding Souvenirs Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 21, 2011 8:00 PM
Prince William, Bride-to-Be Middleton Visit Princess Diana’s Grave Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Queen Formally Approves Prince William’s Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Queen Celebrates 85th Birthday Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Royal Wedding: William & Kate Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:50 AM
A Royal Obsession, Do Americans Care? Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 19, 2011 8:00 PM
Muslim Group Applies to Protest Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM
YouTube to Air Britain’s Royal Wedding Live Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM
Princesses in Training Get Tips at Royal Tea Party Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 17, 2011 8:00 PM
10 Ways You Can Get Into the Spirit of the Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 14, 2011 8:00 PM
British Royal Engagement Sparks Interest in Modern Monarchies Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 29, 2010 7:00 PM
Britain Announces Royal Wedding Date Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 22, 2010 7:00 PM
VOA on British Royal Christening, October 2013
Among five reports on the VOA website on the royal christening in Britain posted on October 23 and 24, 2013, none has more than 20 Facebook “Likes” as of October 28, 2013, one had zero Facebook “Likes” and another one had three.
October 23, 2013 12:08 PM
……..was born on July 22. In the arms of his mother as she left the the palace’s Chapel Royal, George was dressed in a long cream satin robe that was a replica of an 1841 gown made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. Kate, a style icon whose outfits often increase sales of similar garments, wore an off-white, ruffled skirt-suit, made by British fashion house Alexander McQueen, and pillbox hat by British milliner Jane Taylor ….
October 23, 2013 8:20 AM
……..William and Kate’s decision is a break with the tradition of choosing royal dignitaries to take on the ceremonial role, and a continuation of their effort to portray a more informal, modern image to austerity-hit Britons. After the christening, guests will attend a private tea at Clarence House, hosted by Prince Charles and Camilla. Hollywood photographer Jason Bell has been tapped to take official photos of the event, that will include a “historic multi-generational photograph” of the queen
Reporters: VOA News
October 23, 2013 12:14 AM
Carla Babb Prince George, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is being christened in Britain on Wednesday. In a break from tradition, the christening of the world’s most famous baby will be as low key as possible. Three months ago, Prince William and his wife Catherine shared their bundle of joy with the world. And just as the royal couple broke with tradition ….
Reporters: Carla Babb
October 22, 2013 9:59 AM
Reuters A British photographer known for his portraits of rock stars and Hollywood actors was named on Tuesday as the official photographer of the world’s newest celebrity – Prince George. Prince William and his wife Kate have chosen Jason Bell to photograph the christening on Wednesday, October 23, of their son, the third-in-line to the British throne, a palace statement said. Bell, 44, is an award-winning photographer best known for portraits of celebrities such as musician Paul McCartney, footballer David Beckham ….
October 23, 2013 12:19 PM
a central London chapel, where he made his first public appearance since his birth in July. Prince George was seen in the arms of his father, Prince William, as the elder prince and his wife Kate arrived at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace for Wednesday’s traditional Anglican Christian ceremony. The infant was wearing a white satin gown, a replica of one made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841. In a private ceremony inside the chapel ….