BBG Watch Commentary

Why has U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America’s VOA News English language website ignored as a news story for many days the explosive controversy over President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes admitting in a New York Times interview to lying to reporters about the Iran deal?

Is this Ben Rhodes scandal not news? U.S. media have been reporting on the story for days as news.

The only mention of the Ben Rhodes controversy is on a separate VOA blog with U.S. opinions. That VOA blog has very few visitors compared to news website, not that has a tremendous number of visitors or comments. The VOA opinion blog is also not searched by search engine. It is almost impossible to find.

VOA Ben Rhodes Search Results Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2:09 AM ET
VOA Ben Rhodes Search Results Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2:09 AM ET

Therefore, almost no one looking for the Ben Rhodes story on the main English language website can see it. As far as the Voice of America News department is concerned, the story is not worth reporting as news.


A Google search for “Ben Rhodes, VOA, Iran” pulls up only two VOA opinion blog entries. Nothing shows up for VOA News website where VOA reports its news in English.

We also wonder how many of VOA’s foreign language services reported on the Ben Rhodes scandal as a news story?

Google Search VOA, Ben Rhodes, Iran Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.48 AM ET
Google Search VOA, Ben Rhodes, Iran Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.48 AM ET
VOA Director Amanda Bennett
VOA Director Amanda Bennett

What does new VOA Director, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Amanda Bennett have to say about this remarkable lack of curiosity in news reporting?

Under a different director many years ago, the Voice of America reported extensively and objectively on the Watergate crisis every day from the very beginning. It was news. It was not relegated to an opinion program, although it was also covered extensively in opinion programs.

What does Amanda Bennett’s new deputy, former Washington Post correspondent and editor Sandy Sugawara, have to say about this?

What does new Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO and Director John Lansing have to say about this?

What do VOA Newsroom reporters and editors have to say about this?

BBG CEO and DirectorJohn Lansing
BBG CEO and DirectorJohn Lansing

What happened to all those promises from Mr. Lansing and BBG chairman Jeff Shell to Congress that the BBG together with VOA is being reformed and therefore key provisions of the reform legislation pending in the U.S. Congress are not necessary?

Is the Ben Rhodes scandal not a legitimate U.S. news story to be reported on the VOA News website?

Is it nothing more than an opinion?

Come on VOA. What is going on?

Perhaps this August 13, 2014 video showing a very close relationship between Ben Rhodes and BBG board members explains why the Voice of America is so reluctant to treat this scandal as a legitimate news story.

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