BBG Watch Commentary
In contrast to other Western broadcasters and its own Ukrainian and Russian services, Voice of America English News headlines and news reports, which appear more like commentaries than news reports, try to paint an image of the Ukrainian government in Kyiv as desperate, unpopular and near collapse. In this respect, VOA English News has become more like Al Jazeera and Russia’s RT.
We welcome comments and more analysis of today’s Ukraine-related headlines and reports from major international media outlets.
During the last several weeks, we have noticed a definite and disturbing trend on the Voice of America’s main English news website with regard to Ukraine. VOA headlines have become more like op-ed headlines than news headlines. Also, in contrast with reporting by other Western media outlets, including BBC, Deutsche Welle (DW), and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) which like VOA is also overseen by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), Voice of America headlines are far closer to Russia’s RT and Al Jazeera headlines in portraying the Ukrainian government as desperate, unpopular and near collapse.
VOA English News headlines and news reports do not resemble BBC headlines and news reports, but they also do not correspond in any significant degree to VOA Ukrainian Service or VOA Russian Service headlines and news reports which are all more news-focused and neutral.
While these two VOA language services are more in line with RFE/RL, BBC and DW in handling news and headlines, other VOA language services often translate and use VOA English News reports from Ukraine that do not appear to be entirely balanced because they lack resources to produce their own reports. Some of these other services lack the knowledge of the situation in Ukraine and Russia that VOA Russian and VOA Ukrainian journalists have.
VOA Ukrainian Service and VOA Russian Service have not used today any of the VOA English News reports with loaded headlines. They generally avoid these VOA English News reports, which shows that they are more sophisticated about the countries to which they direct their programs, but also that Voice of America lacks good management, coordination and leadership and the senior level.
If the Voice of America Director David Ensor and his deputy Steve Redisch truly agree with these VOA English News headlines and news reporting from Ukraine and believe them to be accurate, balanced and comprehensive then they must insist that most other VOA language services, including VOA Ukrainian and Russian services, also use these headlines and reports. Then all of VOA could become more like Al Jazeera and RT and more unlike BBC, DW, and RFE/RL. This is, of course, not we would suggest.
Out of five VOA English News Ukraine headlines today, four have a definite negative slant about the Kyiv government. None of BBC, DW, RFE/RL headlines today has that kind of obvious slant.
News headlines by these other news organizations are generally neutral and opinion free, as they should be, or are clearly labeled as commentaries. Their news reports are balanced and generally more comprehensive than VOA reports. These other news organizations are also more up-to-date than VOA in their news reporting.
At the same time, BBC, DW, and RFE/RL headlines and news reports do not minimize at all the seriousness of the situation in eastern Ukraine, but they do not assign most of the blame to the government in Kyiv, as many VOA English headlines and news reports seem to do these days.
We are not sure what caused this rather drastic change in VOA English News reporting/commentaries from Ukraine in recent weeks, although from the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis last year some VOA English news reports also lacked balance and depth, while at the same time VOA English News failed to report on many U.S. reactions to events in Ukraine, including statements from the White House, the State Department, and the U.S. Congress.
While some of VOA English News Ukraine-related headlines and content today appear much more like commentaries or news analyses provided by who are believed to be hired VOA stringers, rather than VOA staff reporters, they are not labeled as such. One VOA stringer consistently provides reports on pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine with hardly any balance.
In contrast to VOA English News reporting from Ukraine, BBC news headlines are much more neutral and BBC news reports are considerably more balanced. BBC news reports are also more substantive, as is Deutsche Welle reporting from Ukraine. In most cases, BBC and DW clearly label views expressed by their staff reporters as commentaries or news analyses.
Some VOA English News reports from Ukraine, while not coming as close to Al Jazeera or RT in terms of anti-Kyiv bias and lack of balance, are more similar in content and emphasis to reports by these two outlets than to reporting by BBC, DW, RFE/RL, or VOA Ukrainian and Russian services. Stringers hired by VOA central English News easily find quotes from pro-Russian locals but seems to have a lot of trouble finding anyone in eastern Ukraine who supports the Kyiv government, does not want to join Russia and does not support pro-Russia separatists.
TOP VOA ENGLISH NEWS UKRAINE HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
TOP VOA UKRAINIAN SERVICE UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
TOP VOA RUSSIAN SERVICE UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Кризис в Украине и роль русскоязычных СМИ в российской диаспоре в США (The crisis in Ukraine and the role of Russian-language media in the Russian diaspora in the U.S.) – VOA Russian Service, May 6, 2014
TOP BBC ENGLISH UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT (Note that BBC’s top headline is up-to-date, as are two other BBC Ukraine news headlines, while most of VOA English News headlines are not. RFE/RL and DW have also been updated. Most VOA English News headlines at midday Tuesday are from the previous day.)
TOP RFE/RL ENGLISH UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
TOP DEUTSCHE WELLE ENGLISH UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Let’s review some of today’s VOA English News headlines and compared them to some of the headlines from Al Jazeera and RT. VOA, Al Jazeera, and RT headlines share some similarities and are not at all like headlines from BBC, DW or RFE/RL.
VOA ENGLISH HEADLINES
Fierce Fighting in East Ukraine Tests Leadership in Kyiv – VOA
Ukraine’s Campaign Against Pro-Russia Forces Angers Residents in East – VOA
Despite Unity Calls, Lawlessness Rules in Ukraine’s East – VOA
AL JAZEERA ENGLISH HEADLINES
Ukraine: Lies, propaganda and the West’s agenda – Al Jazeera (a particularly powerful anti-U.S., anti-Western, and pro- Kremlin commentary because of its mix of truths, half-truths, and Kremlin propaganda)
RT ENGLISH HEADLINES