BBG Watch Commentary

Helle C. Dale, the Heritage Foundation’s senior fellow in public diplomacy, says in her latest Daily Signal commentary that U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA), which reports to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) federal agency still run by an Obama era appointee, is undermining the U.S. abroad. Helle points out that President Trump can easily change that by nominating a new CEO for the BBG.

“A growing chorus of critics is demanding the Trump administration get on with the business of reforming the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the vast international broadcasting complex it oversees on behalf of the U.S. government,” Helle Dale wrote for The Daily Signal.

HELLE DALE: “Not only was Voice of America slow to cover the protests, but, in an apparent effort to “balance” President Donald Trump’s support for the protesters—a refreshing change of tone from the White House—Voice of America’s Persian service has repeatedly run stories reflecting the Iranian government’s point of view.”

We might add that VOA’s central English news service was just as bad if not worse than the VOA Persian service in posting online reports with long quotes of outright lies and other propaganda from the Iranian regime officials without including in the same reports statements from the protesters or anybody else countering such disinformation from the Iranian mullahs.

Two Iranian human rights activists, Mariam Memarsadeghi and Akbar Atri, wrote in an earlier op-ed in The Hill that “Voice of America Persian service should be resuscitated from its deplorable state,” echoing a similar call in The Wall Street Journal editorial to reform VOA’s parent federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), still managed by holdover officials from the Obama administration. The Wall Street Journal called the BBG “slow and backward.”

Voice of America Is Undermining the US Abroad. Trump Can Easily Change That. By Helle Dale, The Daily Signal, February 5, 2018.


  1. A “growing chorus of critics”? Really? And just a link to BBGWatch? This is the kind of hyperbole we’re getting accustomed to these days but it doesn’t make it fair or balanced. Plus, these kinds of attacks on VOA occur every time there’s a protest in Iran and there’s folks who don’t approve of any reporting that dares mention what the government is saying. Reminds me of the time under Reagan when those reporting on the then Soviet Union were criticized for quoting Tass or Pravda as pegs to get into western analysis of what the Soviets were saying. There were folks then saying VOA was “the voice of the Kremlin”. Makes you think.

    1. May we suggest that you do a Google search for media articles about the BBG and the VOA, or better yet subscribe to Google Alerts about them. You might find critical comments about both by no other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), several op-eds and editorials in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Washington Examiner, and highly critical comments from U.S. China experts and Iranian Americans, including a recent op-ed in The Hill. As to Reagan, he was held in great contempt by some of VOA English Newsroom reporters and some high-level VOA managers but was at the same time greatly admired by many broadcasters working for VOA foreign language services. But even Reagan’s greatest critics in the VOA Newsroom in those years did not use “F-words” in public to describe him as some of VOA’s current Newsroom reporters did who also called him a “Joke” and bragged about it on Facebook. It shows real bias. The bias in giving long quotes from statements from the Iranian Mullahs with zero or very minimal balance is even greater.

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