BBG Watch Commentary

VOA Report Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.13AM ET
VOA Report Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.13AM ET


U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) is either completely ineffective in audience engagement or its readers’ comments have been taken over by pro-Kremlin trolls.

A recent VOA English news report, “G20 Leaders Rebuke Putin Over Ukraine,” shows 9 comments, which is a large number for VOA. (Russia’s RT news stories usually show hundreds of comments, sometimes thousands.)

However, eight comments for the VOA G20 news report — which was well written, comprehensive and balanced — were strongly defending Putin and criticizing President Obama and other Western leaders. One comment could be described as neutral, which in itself places Putin on the same footing as Western leaders and thus makes him look better than they are for not engaging in any criticism. All the comments seemed remarkably similar.

As of 2:00 AM ET, November 19, there was not a single comment under the VOA news report in support of Western criticism of President Putin.

The VOA report, dated November 16, was showing only 9 (nine) comments. RT report on the G20 summit, “Putin: Economic blockade of E. Ukraine a ‘big mistake’,” also dated November 16, was showing 3,172 comments.

VOA report had 68 Facebook “Shares” and 83 Tweets. RT report, in addition to 3,172 comments, had over 1,700 Facebook “Shares” and 398 Tweets.

Such large numbers for RT suggest that many social media hits and comments on the RT website may in fact be also generated by pro-Kremlin trolls. But it’s not likely that all of RT’s numbers come from trolls. Even if most of them did, they would still be many times larger than what VOA is capable of getting in term of audience engagement.

Obviously, VOA cannot itself generate comments for its Russia-related stories that would offer some balance for pro-Kremlin trolls who seem to be often the only ones commenting on VOA news reports. The problem is low number of comments for VOA news reports altogether.

If Voice of America were able to get hundreds or even dozens of comments then readers of the VOA website might at least get a point of view from some of them that would be different from the one being forced by what appear to be pro-Kremlin trolls deliberately targeting the VOA website and taking advantage of VOA’s otherwise low audience engagment.

Comments [posted under Voice of America news report, “G20 Leaders Rebuke Putin Over Ukraine“]


VOA Report Comments Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.11 AM ET
VOA Report Comments Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.11 AM ET


by: Veronika from: Ukraine

November 17, 2014 4:57 AM

I do not think those western leaders are so kind. They are only hypocrites because they have totally ignored the suffering of russian speaking ukraninans in the East. They avoided to mention the death of those in Odessa (burnt alive) and many of our fellows have been massacred and buried in mass graves. They are trying hard to support those in Kiev even though they are fascists (all Ukrainians know it but most dare not speak out because that means the end of their life)

by: Joanne Chiu from: China

November 17, 2014 4:12 AM

What??? I hear nothing concerning our Chinese leader criticizing Putin over Ukraine in the summit. Only some Westerners did some foolish things towards Putin. They should not have lost their temper so easily. The summit is for dialogue, not for confrontation. if those leaders thought they could get their goal by hurting or insulting some one, they were wrong because by doing so they have turned a partner into an enemy. It is easy to understand why the Western economy is slowing down compared with that of China: Their leaders are so stupid!

by: Sameer Chowdhry from: India

November 17, 2014 3:50 AM

Hey, how stupid those western leaders were when they tried to treat Mr.Putin in a foolish manner and insulted him. Do you know who were those guys? leaders form the USA, the UK and Canada. They are of the same flock, of course. I am also disappointed with western media which is trying to cover up facts and truth in Eastern Ukraine. And of course they have much experience on it.

by: Durongapidya from: Thailand

November 17, 2014 3:40 AM

Pls replace the tittle “G20 Leaders Rebuke Putin Over Ukraine” with “Some Western Leaders Rebuke Putin Over Ukraine”. In fact only the leaders of The USA, UK, Canada expressed their hostility towards Mr. Putin because they are of the same nature and origin. Others paid no attention to the conflict in Ukraine because the Summit was about economic issues. Pls do not turn white to black.

by: QUOC TUAN from: Viet Nam

November 16, 2014 11:03 AM

Australia must be ashamed of itself for treating a world leader in a rude way, especially in a summit only about world economic growth, Business is business. Other Western leaders were like mad dogs barking arbitrarily at a world leader.

by: Igor from: Russia

November 16, 2014 10:57 AM

G20 Summit was about world economic growth but sume handful of western leaders exploited it to insult Mr. Putin and all russian speaking ukrainians in Ukraine. Mr. Putin had known that he would be treated badly at the Summit but he still decided to attend it. After leaving it he did not forget to praise the hospitality of the host country. That has proved that he is a great leader far different from those Western ones who acted like humble dogs.

by: moritz katz from: Germany

November 16, 2014 8:07 AM

Putin was brave going to the summit knowing he would be treated rudely.
Not a good day for world politics turning the focus from trade and economy needs into a circus of bashing a world leader.
Next meeting hopefully Putin will send some very junior diplomat to illustrate just how immature many so called heads of state are. One fights fire with fire and insults with insults. But of course Putin is too great of a statesman to want to waste time and effort on childish games.

by: HUNG MANH from: Viet Nam

November 16, 2014 7:49 AM

Cameron, Harper and Obama have acted in an uneducated, stupid and unprofessional manner which will make the situation in Ukraine much worse. The way they treated Mr. Putin will surely backfire on them because it is the West which triggered the civil war in Ukraine. The West also covered up the fact that the passender plane was downed by missles from an Ukrainian airfighter. No one can threaten Mr. Putin or Russia with force or sanctions.

In Response
by: soul from: usa

November 17, 2014 12:38 AM

I wish our leaders could get along and find a way to resolve this situation.

Both Russia and United States are great countries with wonderful people that are very much alike.

It would be great for the people of the world if the two nations could work together to make life on this planet a better place for not just people but all living things.

What ever is going on in the Ukraine needs to stop. People need to focus more on life and bettering it for themselves and future generations to come and resolve their differences with respect for one another.

Maybe its time we all start acting like people from a planet and all get on the same team.

Life would be so much better here on earth if this could happen

Peace to all and God bless you ” whoever your God may be”


RT G20 Report Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.17 AM ET
RT G20 Report Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.17 AM ET


RT G20 Report Comments Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.18AM ET
RT G20 Report Comments Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 2.18AM ET