BBG Watch Commentary

CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, accused the host of a Voice of America (VOA) current affairs program, “Press Conference USA,” Carol Castiel, of calling a recent commentary by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in The New York Times “balanced” despite what CAMERA says is evidence that the commentary was “one-sided,” “anti-Israel” and “anything but balanced.”

In response to a question whether she is going to delete her tweet about “balance,” Castiel responded on Twitter:
“Nope. Stand by my cheeky tweet. Camera masquerades as media watchdog, but it has political agenda.”

Castiel-Vaknin Tweets Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 6.36 PM EST

CAMERA noted that the Voice of America is “the official external broadcast institution of the United States government, [which] asserts that its goal is to provide news coverage that is ‘accurate, objective, and comprehensive’.” The “accurate, objective, and comprehensive” news requirement is included in the VOA Charter (U.S. Public Law 94-350). VOA is funded by U.S. taxpayers through annual congressional appropriations to its oversight agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

CAMERA, is an American non-profit pro-Israel media-monitoring, research and membership organization. CAMERA is known for its pro-Israel media monitoring and advocacy.


CAMERA: On Feb. 1, 2016 Castiel took to Twitter to share Ban Ki-moon’s February 1 New York Times Op-ed, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Israel.” Ban Ki-moon took to The Times after being criticized for January 26 remarks, apparently excusing the Palestinian Arab “stabbing intifada” against Israelis with the apologia, “It is human nature to react to occupation.”
Castiel tweeted “No balanced oped goes unpunished @UN_spokesperson. You’ll hear from @CAMERAorg.” The VOA host seemed not only to be praising Ban’s Op-ed as balanced but also, spuriously, that CAMERA would “punish” it for being so.
So many problems with such a little Tweet. Beginning with the fact that neither Ban nor his New York Times commentary have exhibited “balance” when it comes to the Jewish state, or what the U.N. chief says about “occupation.” 

READ MORE: Host of Tax-Payer Funded VOA Show Thinks Anti-Israel Op-Ed is ‘Balanced’, CAMERA, February 8, 2016


An earlier (January 2015) CAMERA protest, unrelated to the current controversy, prompted VOA to change its wrong and misleading headline on the U.S. “no” vote on the Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN Security Council, which VOA Central Newsroom erroneously referred to as a veto. But VOA still failed to correct some of the inaccurate text inside its reports on the UN vote, both in English and in other languages.

READ MORE: Voice of America Only Partly Corrects: U.S. Didn’t Veto Palestinian Statehood Bid, BBG Watch, January 6, 2015.


Critics have accused other Voice of America personalities of anti-Israeli bias and unbalanced commentaries.

SEE: Voice of America bashing Israel and Netanyahu, BBG Watch Commentary, January 14, 2015.

SEE: New attacks on Netanyahu in Voice of America opinion article without a disclaimer, BBG Watch Commentary, February 22, 2015.