BBG Watch Commentary
Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW) has posted on its English-language website two lengthy news analyses on U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine on Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) had no original news report on the Vice President’s visit to Ukraine and managed to post only a short news item from Reuters.
UPDATE: VOA later removed an attribution to Reuters, which was there earlier can be seen in a screenshot below, and slightly changed the wording. The VOA report still has only 231 words plus a video not related to Biden’s visit. The video, which was produced on Sunday when it was already known that Vice President Biden will be going to Kyiv on Monday, makes no mention of Biden’s trip.
One of the DW news analyses on Biden’s Ukrainian trip has 635 words. The other DW news analysis on Biden and U.S. strategy in Ukraine has 881 words. On Biden’s trip to Ukraine and U.S. policy, Deutsche Welle had 6.5 times more high quality analytical content than Voice of America.
The problem in timely and comprehensive reporting on U.S. foreign policy by VOA is not limited only to VOA English language news service. As of 10:00 PM EDT Sunday, neither VOA Russian nor VOA Ukrainian Service had any new original VOA news reports or news analyses from Washington related to Vice President Biden’s visit in Kyiv on Monday.
As of 1:00 AM EDT Monday (8:00 AM Monday Kyiv time), the VOA Ukrainian Service Facebook page has not been updated for eight hours. VOA management has not provided the service with resources to do update its social pages in addition to doing its highly popular television news program for Ukraine.
VOA Ukrainian Service Facebook Page Has Not Been Updated for Eight Hours – No Post on Biden As Of 1:00 AM EDT Monday (8:00 AM Monday Kyiv time)
As of 1:00 AM EDT Monday, the VOA Russian Service had a post on its Facebook about Biden’s visit to Ukraine that was nine hours old. It did not include the latest information from the White House released early Sunday evening and linked not to any Voice of America news report or U.S. originated news analysis but to a Radio Liberty Russian Service news report. Under its VOA Charter, Voice of America had an obligation to report on the White House statement from Washington and also to provide news analysis, but it failed to do so. Both VOA and Radio Liberty report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), but Radio Liberty Russian Service, which is part of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has a Russia focus, does not have a large staff in the United States and has no legal duty to report on U.S. news. Voice of America does.
As of 1:00 AM EDT Monday, VOA Russian Service Facebook Post On Biden Is Nine Hours Old – No New White House Information – Links To Old Radio Liberty Report
Unlike Voice of America, Germany’s Deutsche Welle provided extensive analysis of Vice President Biden’s trip to Ukraine. DW interviewed Barry Pavel, vice president and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, where he focuses on emerging security challenges and defense strategies. He also served on the National Security Council under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Voice of America English news website had no original reporting of any kind about Vice President Biden’s trip to Ukraine. VOA management probably did not have a correspondent watching the White House on Sunday. The White House issued a lengthy press release Sunday evening on Biden’s trip, but there was no original reporting on it by VOA until many hours later and even then the report had only 231 words and no substantive analysis of the kind provided in two Deutsche Welle reports.
VOA Initially Posted Only A Short Reuters News Item on Biden’s Trip to Ukraine
The Reuters news item can no longer be seen on the VOA website. It was replaced with an equally short and non-substantive VOA report.
VOA Journalists Blame Senior Executives
VOA journalists blame inadequate news coverage by Voice of America on the failure of the senior management to provide leadership, resources, and planning. VOA appears to be in the midst of a major management crisis and poor employee morale crisis with no end in sight.
Critics point out that Voice of America has missed numerous major news stories during recent months or was often many hours late and offered inadequate coverage of various news U.S. official responses to news events in Russia and Ukraine. Journalists complain that VOA’s senior management has not provided the VOA newsroom with enough additional staff to handle the crisis. VOA management has also failed to provide VOA’s Ukrainian and Russian services with sufficient extra help to update their websites and social media pages on a regular basis, sources told BBG Watch.
As of 10:30 PM EDT Sunday, the VOA Ukrainian Service Facebook page has not been updated for more than six hours. Also as of 10:30 PM EDT Sunday, the last VOA Ukrainian Service post on Twitter was six hours old.
Update: as of 1:00 AM EDT Monday (8:00 AM Monday Kyiv time), both VOA Ukrainian Facebook page and its Twitter have not been updated for more than eight hours with original VOA news content.
Myroslava Gongadze, host of a highly popular Voice of America Ukrainian Service television news program broadcast in Ukraine complained on April 11, 2014 to members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors that the VOA Ukrainian Service “is stretched very thin” in terms of staff and resources. Gongadze also said that members of the Voice of America Ukrainian Service saw the crisis coming half a year ago, but no one asked them for advice. “Nobody really asked us much,” Myroslava Gongadze said at an open meeting of the BBG Board.
One of the problems facing the VOA Ukrainian Service is that senior agency managers, who include both VOA and International Broadcasting Bureau executives, have not provided the service with adequate support. The service, while producing an excellent television program, is still unable to update its website and social media pages on a regular basis.
International audiences can no longer rely on the Voice of America for breaking news coverage, especially after business hours in Washington and on weekends. VOA management has diverted major resources away from news reporting to producing non-news, feature videos and other similar reports. Employee morale at VOA is dismally low, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveys of federal workers. VOA had dozens of reports on the British royal family and a video for Pakistan showing a blood-thirty zombie dressed as Uncle Sam character attacking a Pakistani.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2014
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN TRAVELS TO UKRAINE
This evening, the Vice President will depart for Kyiv, Ukraine, for meetings with government leaders and members of civil society. While in Kyiv, the Vice President will meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Rada Speaker and Acting President Oleksander Turchynov, and key legislators representing different political parties and regions within the Rada to discuss the international community’s efforts to help stabilize and strengthen Ukraine’s economy and to assist Ukraine in moving forward on constitutional reform, decentralization, anti-corruption efforts, and free and fair presidential elections on May 25th. In these meetings, the Vice President will also consult on the latest developments in eastern Ukraine and on steps to enhance Ukraine’s short- and long-term energy security. Later, the Vice President will meet with Ukrainian civil society leaders to discuss the key role nongovernmental organizations play in strengthening Ukraine’s democratic institutions.
Please note all times are approximate and are subject to change.
Monday, April 21st – Kyiv, Ukraine
The Vice President’s arrival in Kyiv at Boryspil International Airport at 3:15 PM LOCAL TIME/8:15 AM ET is open press.
Afterwards, the Vice President will meet with U.S. Embassy staff and families in Kyiv. This event is closed press.
Tuesday, April 22nd – Kyiv, Ukraine
In the morning, the Vice President will meet with Rada Speaker and Acting President Oleksander Turchynov at the Rada. This meeting will be followed by a meeting with Ukrainian legislators from the Rada. There will be a pool spray at the top of this meeting.
Later in the morning, the Vice President will meet with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the Cabinet of Ministers Club. There will be a pool spray at the top of this meeting. A restricted bilateral meeting will follow between the Vice President and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. This meeting is closed press.
Following their meetings, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the Vice President will deliver statements to the press. These statements will be open press.
In the afternoon, the Vice President will meet with a group of civil society leaders at the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. The Vice President’s remarks at the top of the meeting will be pooled press.
Afterwards, the Vice President will depart Kyiv, Ukraine, en route Washington, DC.
Opinion: Clear words, not more money, for Ukraine – Deutsche Welle
On his visit to Ukraine, US Vice President Joe Biden will offer clear words, but no additional funds to Kyiv. Biden is an experienced politician with keen knowledge of the situation at home, writes DW’s Miodrag Soric.
Mon, Apr 21, 2014
Source: DW (Germany)
US should pledge ‘defense weapons’ to Ukraine – Deutsche Welle
Ukraine must defend itself against a Russian “invasion,” according to US defense and security expert Barry Pavel. He thinks Vice President Joe Biden’s visit should deliver “tangible” results. Barry Pavel is vice president and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, where he focuses on emerging security challenges and defense strategies. He also served on the National Security Council under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Sun, Apr 20, 2014
Source: DW (Germany)
Biden Heading to Kyiv to Meet with Ukraine Leaders – Reuters on Voice of America website (link no longer shows a Reuters report which had been posted earlier)
Mon, Apr 21, 2014
Source: VOA News (USA)