BBG Watch Commentary

U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 million) Voice of America (VOA), run by the vast dysfunctional bureaucracy of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) federal agency ($777 million, including VOA), has prominently posted and as of 2:00 PM ET, Friday, February 17, 2017 is still showing on its websites an AP news report on the alleged Trump administration plans to use National Guard to round up illegal immigrants, which both the White House and the Department of Homeland Security have said many hours ago was fake news.

This is how the news report’s headline still looked on the main VOA News English full site homepage at about 2:20 PM ET, Friday, February 17, 2017.

As of 3:00 PM ET, the Voice of America still has not corrected or updated the AP news report on its websites and has not presented the Trump administration’s denials and explanations.

VOA News Full Site Homepage Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 2.20 PM ET.
VOA News Full Site Homepage Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 2.20 PM ET.

This is how the same AP news report looked on the mobile VOA News English homepage at about 1:00 PM ET.

VOA News Mobile Site Homepage Screenshot 1PM ET February 17, 2017.
VOA News Mobile Site Homepage Screenshot 1PM ET February 17, 2017.

The VOA time stamp shows that it had posted the Associated Press report at 11:11 AM ET, February 17, 2017 — long after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denied that President Donald Trump was considering using the National Guard to round up undocumented immigrants.

“That is 100 percent not true. It is false,” Spicer was quoted telling reporters aboard Air Force One. He described the AP’s report that Trump may call up as many as 100,000 troops “irresponsible.”

Spicer did not comment on the use of the AP report by the Voice of America.

Also Department of Homeland Security acting press secretary Gillian Christensen said that “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard.”

None of the denials and new information has been seen on the VOA News websites as of 3:00 PM ET.

In the past, Voice of America’s official U.S. news was considered highly accurate because of the 1976 VOA Charter (U.S. Public Law 94-350) which requires VOA news to be “accurate, objective, and comprehensive,” as well as to “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.”

These standards were already greatly weakened in recent years under the Broadcasting Board of Governors, but violations of good journalistic practices and outright mocking and bashing by some VOA reporters of candidate and later President Trump reached unprecedented levels under new BBG CEO John F. Lansing and VOA director Amanda Bennett.

Both of these U.S. government executives, holdovers from the Obama administration, deny that the Voice of America has been sloppy, partisan or biased despite overwhelming evidence pointing to frequent and widespread violations of the most basic journalistic ethics.

John Lansing recently told NPR that “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.” Lansing made this statement to NPR even though some VOA reporters have used or quoted in VOA programs, on social media and in public meetings various epithets for Donald Trump, including:

“A Joke,”

“Disgrace,”

“F*ckface Von Clownstick,”

“Punk,”

“Dog,”

“Pig,”

“Con,”

“Buls**t artist,”

“Mutt,”

“Idiot,”

“Fool,”

“Bozo,”

“Blatantly stupid.”

VOA Director Amanda Bennett told Patt Morrison who writes for The Los Angeles Times: “You don’t do a story that doesn’t show the opposite viewpoint. If you’re making a criticism of somebody, you allow the person or the institution you’re criticizing to make a comment.”

And yet VOA reporters calling the President of the United States nasty names and posting on social media memes showing him with a Nazi swastika and as a sex organ — all of this happened on her watch and John F. Lansing’s watch.

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