BBG Watch Commentary

U.S. government-run and U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) has ignored the Claas Relotius journalistic scandal.

Since Der Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius who was fired by the German news magazine for “grand scale” lies has published multiple reports from the United States, including a report on Fergus Falls, Minn, whose residents were one of several groups who finally have helped to expose him, shouldn’t the Voice of America (VOA) have a story about this journalistic fraud affecting largely the United States with his use of disinformation, propaganda and outright fake news?

Mr. Relotius also wrote a fraudulent story about the situation at the U.S.-Mexican border and in this instance was exposed by one of his colleagues. It took, however, many years of false reporting to get him fired.

The other link Mr. Relotius has to the US is having been named once by CNN as a “Journalist of the Year,” although he apparently did not report for CNN. In a statement to The Associated Press, CNN International said the independent panel of judges who awarded Claas Relotius the Journalist of the Year and Print Journalist of the Year awards four years ago decided unanimously to remove them following revelations about his fraud.

Considering all of this, how does one explain that VOA has no report on this story, while all the major international and US media outlets do, including Russia’s RT, BBC, and Germany’s DW?

We did a search of VOA and also RFE/RL sites and they showed no results as of Thursday afternoon Washington, DC time. All other major media had the story yesterday.

Shouldn’t VOA at least try to counter false propaganda about the US?

What would it take to get VOA to do a story on Mr. Relotius?

When Mr. Trump once made a comment about “fake news media” being the “enemy of the people,” the Voice of America immediately posted a long report comparing him to Lenin, Stalin and Mao, stopping just short of comparing him to Hitler.

Voice of America compares Trump to Lenin, Stalin, Mao in a one-sided attack, BBG Watch, February 18, 2017

VOA Director Amanda Bennett is an Obama administration holdover official as is her boss, United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) CEO John F. Lansing.

We did not get a response from them and wanted to report this as soon as possible. For balance we include a recent photo which shows Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett holding what appears to be a promotional umbrella for the United States Agency for Global Media, no doubt purchased with U.S. taxpayers’ money. The slogans on appears to be a poster are: “NEW NAME, SAME GREAT COVERAGE,” and “In many countries, we’re the only source of objective, fact-based news and information.”


BBC Report on Claas Relotius, December 19, 2018


Russia’s RT report on Class Relotius, December 19, 2018


Germany’s DW report on Claas Relotius