BBG Watch Commentary

It may be nothing more than just one of many web-related mistakes at the mismanaged U.S. taxpayer-funded ($221 million in FY 2017) Voice of America (VOA), but those looking at VOA’s mobile site this morning (August 30, 2017) on their IPhones saw as the top “USA News” item a report from Reuters “Muslims Begin Annual Haj Pilgrimage in Mecca.”

The Reuters report on the Haj posted by VOA on its mobile site as the top “USA News” item had absolutely nothing to do with the United States. It did not even mention U.S. Muslims going on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Instead of using a Reuters report, VOA News should have had its own report on the Haj with at least some focus on American Muslims traveling to Mecca. In that case, the report could have been included in “USA News,” but certainly not as the top news while the Hurricane Harvey story in Texas continues.

Such technical as well as much more serious reporting mistakes are seen all the time on the Voice of America’s main English-language news website. VOA is often far behind BBC or Russia’s RT in reporting on major news developments, even important U.S. news originating in Washington. Both BBC and RT get multiple times more audience engagement on their websites and through social media than VOA.

SEE: Voice of America gets hammered on Facebook by RT on #Barcelona, BBG Watch, August 18, 2017

In the last several years, there have been many strange and still unexplained mistakes connected with digital outreach by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the Voice of America. BBG and VOA have for years promoted a fake Twitter account as belonging to the director of the VOA Persian Service. The account was removed only after we exposed it earlier this year.

SEE: BBG management followed, legitimized fake VOA Iran Twitter feed for years, BBG Watch, February 22, 2017.

Top positions at the Voice of America and its oversight agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) are still occupied by Obama administration era appointees, VOA director Amanda Bennett and BBG CEO John F. Lansing. Both have described their management team as being excellent.