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
Ukraine Offers Russia New Round of Talks – VOA, May 6, 2014
Ukraine’s Campaign Against Pro-Russia Forces Angers Residents in East – VOA, May 5, 2014
Fierce Fighting in East Ukraine Tests Leadership in Kyiv – VOA, May 5, 2014
Violence in Ukraine’s Odessa Could Lead to Even More Unrest – VOA, May 5, 2014
Despite Unity Calls, Lawlessness Rules in Ukraine’s East – VOA, May 5, 2014
TOP VOA UKRAINIAN SERVICE UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Під час антитерористичної операції на Сході України загинуло 30 сепаратистів (30 separatists killed in anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine – VOA Ukrainian Service, May 6, 2014
ПАРЄ застерігає від зовнішнього втручання у проведення виборів в Україні (PACE warns against outside interference in Ukraine elections) – VOA Ukrainian Service, May 6, 2014
Україна хоче нових Женевських переговорів, але Росія відмовляється (Ukraine wants new Geneva talks, but Russia declines) – VOA Ukrainian Service, May 6, 2014
НАТО більше не вважає вторгнення російських військ імовірним (NATO no longer considers invasion by Russian troops probable) – VOA Ukrainian Service, May 6, 2014
Поляки та американці відпрацьовують бойові навички на випадок агресії Росії (Poles and Americans fine tune fighting skills in the event of Russia’s aggression) – VOA Ukrainian Service, May 5, 2014
TOP VOA RUSSIAN SERVICE UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
В Украине формируются военизированные отряды для борьбы с сепаратизмом (Militias formed in Ukraine to fight separatism) – VOA Russian Service, May 6, 2014
Аэропорт Донецка закрыт для всех рейсов (Donetsk airport is closed to all flights) – VOA Russian Service, May 6, 2014
Киев против Славянска (Kiev against Slaviansk) – VOA Russian Service, May 6, 2014
Украина пойдет на переговоры, если Россия поддержит выборы (Ukraine agrees to negotiate, if Russia would support elections) – VOA Russian Service, May 6, 2014
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.)
Ukraine crisis: Russia rules out new Geneva talks – BBC, May 6, 2014
Stakes raised in Ukraine crisis, BBC, May 6, 2014
Ukraine crisis: Security tight at Kiev checkpoint – BBC, May 6, 2014.
Ukraine soldiers killed in renewed Sloviansk fighting – BBC, May 5, 2014.
Ukraine crisis: Kiev protesters continue to occupy buildings – BBC, May 5, 2014
TOP RFE/RL ENGLISH UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
Russia says Ukraine should pull back its army from the eastern regions – Live Blog: Crisis In Ukraine – RFE/RL, May 6, 2014
Member Of Crimean Tatar Mejlis Beaten By ‘Self-Defense’ Group – RFE/RL, May 6, 2014
UN Expresses Concerns Over Ukraine Violence – RFE/RL, May 6, 2014
Ukraine Parliament Holds Emergency Meeting On Crisis In Country’s East – RFE/RL, May 6, 2014
Kyiv Ditches Separatist-Linked Ribbon As WWII Symbol – RFE/RL, May 6, 2014
Putin Awards 300 Journalists For ‘Objective’ Crimea Coverage – RFE/RL, May 5, 2014
TOP DEUTSCHE WELLE ENGLISH UKRAINE NEWS HEADLINES ON MAY 6, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT
European diplomats call for further Geneva talks – DW, May 6, 2014
Odessa – next flashpoint on the Black Sea? – DW, May 6, 2014
Separatists killed in Slovyansk fighting: Kyiv – DW, May 6, 2014
Ukraine on edge after Slovyansk battle – DW, May 6, 2014
Opinion: Ukraine on the brink of civil war – DW, May 6, 2014
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 economy choked by political unrest – Al Jazeera
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)
Russia questions ‘unusual’ Ukraine election – Al Jazeera
The view from Moscow: What’s the US endgame in Ukraine? – Al Jazeera
RT ENGLISH HEADLINES
Shooting in Ukraine’s Mariupol as self-defense forces fears Kiev resumes assault – RT
‘They need only blood’: Slavyansk woman killed by sniper fire on her balcony (GRAPHIC) – RT
Buses and armed guards: Odessa Jews ready for mass evacuation – RT