BBG Watch Commentary

U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 million in FY 2017) Voice of America (VOA), part of the dysfunctional Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) federal agency, failed present American roots of actress Meghan Markle whose engagement to Britain’s Prince Harry was announced earlier today.

The only reference in the VOA report to Meghan Markle as an American was in calling her “American actress.” There is nothing more in the VOA report about her American roots.

BBC had an entire report on Ms. Markle’s life and career in film and television in the United States:

Meghan Markle: The lowdown on Prince Harry’s fiancee | BBC News

Even Russia’s RT noted Ms. Markle’s American citizenship while making its usual anti-American propaganda points.

The Voice of America’s VOA Charter says that “VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.”

But presenting her American roots did not seem all that important to some VOA news writers and editors. They mentioned in the VOA report that “Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doris Ragland, are divorced.” They also reported that “Markle is bi-racial.” They noted that “Her father is white. Her mother is black.”

Someone should ask VOA where were Ms. Markle’s parents born?

The VOA report does not answer that question.

(Both of her parents are Americans.)

Where was she born?

The VOA report does not say.

(She was born on August 4, 1981 in Los Angeles, California.)

Where did she go to school?

The VOA report again has nothing as if her parent’s professional background and her own education had nothing to do with her personality and her success as an American actress.

(She attended a Catholic high school in Los Angeles and graduated in 2003 from Northwestern University, near Chicago.)

The pedestrian VOA News report says that “Markle is best-known for her work in the television drama Suits.”

But the VOA report does not say that Suits is an American legal drama television series created and written by Aaron Korsh and premiered in 2011 on the cable network USA, and is produced by Universal Cable. It so happens that former BBG Board Chairman and still one of its current members, Jeff Shell, is associated with the Universal network of companies. He has been the Chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group of NBCUniversal Media, LLC since September 10, 2013.

Meghan Markle is American. Her parents are American. She was born in the United States. She went to school in the United States. She stared in television series and films made in the United States.

Shouldn’t the Voice of America say something about her American background and her work in the American film and television industry instead of defining her largely by her relationship with Prince Harry and her parents’s marital and racial backgrounds?

The Voice of America could have provided far more information about Ms. Markle and her parents to present a full picture of this young American professional woman to international audiences. VOA failed to do that.

According to Wikipedia, “Her mother, Doria Radlan, has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Southern California and works as a psychotherapist and yoga instructor. Her father, of German, Dutch, English, Irish and Scottish descent, is Emmy award-winning lighting director Thomas W. Markle, whose profession resulted in his young daughter often visiting the set of Married … with Children.”

Ms. Markle’s mixed race was previously in the news in fringe and yellow journalism publications, but it is hardly the only or the main story about her, as the VOA report would suggest to audiences abroad.

The VOA report appropriately and correctly noted:

VOA NEWS: Last year, Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne, issued a statement decrying the media coverage of his girlfriend, condemning the “outright racism and sexism of social media trolls and web article comments,” as well as the racial stereotypes used in some newspapers.

But the Voice of America did nothing to dispel these racial stereotypes with its lame news report. It contributed to them by failing to present Meghan Markle as an accomplished and successful professional woman who also happens to be an American of mixed race.

International audiences would have no idea from reading the VOA report that Meghan Markle is in fact American.

E pluribus unum is the traditional motto of the United States. Perhaps VOA news writers and editors should read up on America’s history, the story of its people, and what it means to be an American.

Photo by Genevievederivative work: Firebrace (DSC_3441) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons




Britain’s Prince Harry, US Actress Meghan Markle Officially Engaged [Text Only]


November 27, 2017 7:06 AM [As seen on the Voice of America ( website at 12:30 PM ET, November 27, 2017.]

VOA News

Britain’s Prince Harry is officially engaged to American actress Meghan Markle.

Harry’s father, Prince Charles, made the announcement in a statement Monday.

“His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms. Meghan Markle.”

The statement said the wedding will take place in Spring 2018 and “Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.”

The couple became engaged in London earlier this month, according to the statement.

Harry “informed The Queen and other close members of his family,” the announcement said, and “. . . also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle’s parents.”

An official announcement had been expected after Markle said in a recent interview in Vanity Fair about her relationship with Harry: “We’re a couple. We’re in love.”

Markle’s parents also released a statement, saying “We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents.”

Markle’s parents, Thomas Markle and Doris Ragland, are divorced.

Markle is best-known for her work in the television drama Suits.

She is a Global Ambassador for World Vision Canada, which campaigns for better education, food and healthcare for children around the world. As well as her humanitarian work, she is known for campaigning for gender equality.

She was married briefly in 2011 to film producer Trevor Engelson, but they split two years later.

The prince and the actress made their first public appearance in September at the Invictus Games in Toronto, a sports event for wounded veterans.

Last year, Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne, issued a statement decrying the media coverage of his girlfriend, condemning the “outright racism and sexism of social media trolls and web article comments,” as well as the racial stereotypes used in some newspapers.

Markle is bi-racial. Her father is white. Her mother is black.



1 comment
  1. This is the kind of interesting item that would almost certainly never be seen anywhere other than BBGW, because despite criticisms of its focus on VOA, nobody in mainstream media would have said anything about VOAs treatment of this story, let alone be aware of how VOA presented the story. U.S. taxpayers would otherwise be in the dark about the mediocrity at VOA.

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