BBG Watch Media

Leave it to Ben Carson, once way back in the pack among GOP presidential candidates, but now competitive, to raise the issue for the first time, by anyone in either party. Hillary Clinton, who in 2013 while still the Secretary of State called the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) “practically defunct.” has been notably silent on the issue for obvious reasons, since it has no traction on the campaign trail. At the time she made this comment, Hillary Clinton was an ex officio member of the BBG.

While some Voice of America (VOA) foreign language services would agree with Ben Carson, a small group of VOA English newsroom reporters is adamantly opposed to countering violent extremism as being incompatible with objective journalism. Some of the most vocal critics among VOA English newsroom reporters of countering violent extremism and President Putin’s propaganda often can’t get more than 10 Facebook “Shares” for their reports on the VOA English website and get zero or hardly any comments from readers. A few of these VOA reporters who are most opposed to messaging and countering violent propaganda hold special Foreign Service assignements and can make more than $150,000 per year in salary alone.

“This is good. At least someone on the GOP has the place on the radar,” one former VOA broadcaster observed about Ben Carson’s article. Messaging against ISIS urged by Ben Carson may be more compatible with surrogate broadcasters within the Broadcasting Board of Governors, such as Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) than the Voice of America which has its own Charter. RFE/RL reporters have not voiced public objections to countering propaganda lies from the Kremlin or ISIS.

BEN CARSON: “Wage relentless ideological and information warfare:

Monitoring ISIS websites is not a strategy. We must wade into the ideological war using allies, native-speaking assets and principle networks. There is a necessity to recruit people who live in the chaos; we need to work with agents who could not possibly pass a government background investigation and polygraph. We must engage, answer and actively participate in the ISIS information flow. This must be complemented with a new Voice of America that pounds creative messaging, hitting sensitive issues head-on, while pushing relevant messaging into the cyberspace discussion.”

READ MORE: Ben Carson: Obama needs new ideas to blunt ISIS, Ben Carson, The Hill, September 19, 2015