BBG Watch Commentary
A White House meeting with Yazidi leaders got one sentence on the Voice of America English website, while Vice President Joe Biden’s call with Iraqi President appears not to have been reported online by VOA English News. There were no interviews on the VOA English News website on Friday with Yazidi leaders invited to the White House.
The screenshot above taken at 1:12 AM EDT Saturday and the text below show all that U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America English news website reported Friday on Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes’ meeting at the White House with Iraqi Yazidi community members.
“In Washington on Friday, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes met at the White House with members of the Yazidi community to discuss the situation in northern Iraq, and he said the United Sates will continue to provide humanitarian support.” US Bombs Islamic Extremists in Northern Iraq, VOA News, August, 8, 2014.
A search of the Voice of America English news website failed to find any VOA reporting on Vice President Biden’s call with Iraqi President Fuad Masum Friday afternoon to discuss U.S. military operations in northern Iraq.
A search of the VOA Kurdish website did not produce any results for “Rhodes” in the last 24 hours. This is not an absolute proof that the service did not report online on the U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes’ meeting at the White House with members of the Yazidi community, but we could not find such a report.
A screenshot of the VOA Kurdish Service Facebook Page, taken at 3:25 AM EDT, Saturday, August 9, 2014, shows that it has not been updated for 11 hours.
VOA senior management and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), specifically its International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), apparently have not made arrangements to provide the VOA Kurdish Service with additional resources to be able to update its website and social media pages 24/7 during this unprecedented crisis.
A screenshot of the VOA Kurdish Service Twitter account, taken at 3:52 AM EDT, Saturday, August 9, 2014, shows that its latest tweet was 47 minutes ago, but the one before the last one was 11 hours old.
The full texts of the White House press releases posted below provided far more details which the Voice of America did not report on its English news website and on its foreign language websites.
It appears that VOA did not interview any Obama Administration officials Friday on the military situation in Iraq and the humanitarian crisis. There were no VOA English News reports Friday on any Congressional reactions to the crisis or any other American reactions to this humanitarian tragedy.
The White House statement about Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes’ meeting with Yazidi leaders was released shortly after 8:00PM EDT Friday. The statement about Vice President Biden’s call with Iraqi President Fuad Masum was released shortly after 5:00 PM EDT Friday. Much of VOA’s online news reporting activity appears to stop after business hours on Friday and remains low throughout weekends. In addition, many of VOA’s staff reporters appear to be on vacation in August.
The Voice of America could have but did not report on Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes’ interview Friday with Judy Woodruff of PBS News Hour. Rhodes discussed the Obama administration’s decision to launch airstrikes and drop humanitarian aid inside Iraq. According to PBS, Rhodes answered “conservative criticism that the U.S. needs a stronger military strategy, as well liberal criticism that military intervention is a slippery slope.”
SEE: U.S. national security official stresses Iraq political solution, not boots on the ground, PBS News Hour, August 8, 2014.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2014
Statement by Deputy NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes’ Meeting with Iraqi Yezidi Community Members
Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes met today at the White House with members of the Iraqi Yezidi community to discuss the dire humanitarian situation in northern Iraq, particularly as it impacts the Yezidi community and other ethnic and religious minority groups, including Christians, Turkmen, and Shabak.
Mr. Rhodes thanked the participants for sharing their personal stories concerning the unimaginable suffering their families and loved ones in Iraq are facing at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including men, women, and children dying of starvation and thirst; the kidnappings of Yezidi women; and executions of Yezidi civilians.
Mr. Rhodes discussed the President’s decision to conduct humanitarian airdrops of food and water to the Yezidi and other civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar and to authorize targeted airstrikes to help break the siege of Mount Sinjar. He condemned ISIL’s atrocities against the Yezidi and other communities in Iraq. Echoing the President’s words of yesterday evening, he noted that the United States will act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide. He emphasized that the United States will continue to pursue a strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis, including by providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces and urging Iraq’s leaders to form an inclusive government that can address the legitimate concerns of all of Iraq’s diverse communities.
Mr. Rhodes noted his admiration for the resilience of the Yezidi community, which has endured for so many centuries. He underscored that in the face of this heartbreaking tragedy, the United States of America stands with the Yezidi people; will continue to provide humanitarian support to those Yezidis who are suffering; and will work with Yezidis, the Iraqi government, and international partners to pursue a lasting solution that protects the Yezidi people.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
August 8, 2014
Readout of the Vice President’s Call with Iraqi President Fuad Masum
Vice President Biden called Iraqi President Fuad Masum this afternoon to discuss United States military operations in northern Iraq and the ongoing government formation process in Baghdad. Vice President Biden reiterated President Obama’s commitment to assist and protect innocent Iraqi civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar and bolster Iraq’s ability to take the fight to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Vice President emphasized the threat ISIL presented to all Iraqis and affirmed the U.S. commitment to support Iraq and all of its citizens – from north to south – as they work to defend the country against this international threat. President Masum updated the Vice President on Iraq’s government formation process. Vice President Biden emphasized the importance of a forming a new government on the constitutional timeline, including a national program that can help consolidate national forces against ISIL. President Masum thanked Vice President Biden for the continued support of the United States government.