BBG Watch Commentary

U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) is reporting to its international audiences and whatever audiences follow it on the web in the United States that Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts in “chaos” [Emphasis added.] after the European Union membership vote which was in favor of Great Britain leaving the EU. Russia’s state propaganda media, RT and SPUTNIK, have been using similar doomsday terms in describing the British vote aftermath; while British and German public broadcasters refrain from using such language and speak instead of “uncertainty” and “crisis.” VOA is overseen by the bipartisan board of the U.S. federal Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

The VOA report uses the term chaos three times:

VOA: “Experts predicted chaos would follow, if Britain decided to vote for Brexit, and chaos has.” [Emphasis added.]

VOA: “Cameron on Monday appeared to slam the door on that prospect, but as the chaos [Emphasis added.] unfolds and party discipline collapses, it is unclear what will happen to the petition if debated in the House of Commons.”

We have checked Britain’s public broadcaster BBC and German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW). They are not using the term “chaos” to describe Great Britain after the EU membership vote. These international broadcasters make references to “uncertainty,” “crisis,” “confusion” and “political upheaval,” but they are not picking up VOA’s, RT’s and SPUTNIK’s descriptions of “chaos,” or calling Great Britain “leaderless” and “rudderless” after the EU vote.

In an interview with NPR, U.S. President Barack Obama cautioned against “hysteria” over Brexit vote. The VOA report mentions Obama’s comments in two sentences, the overwhelming theme of the VOA report is “chaos.”

The “chaos” theme in reference to the British EU vote has been particularly strong in Russia’s RT reporting, with headlines such as The post-Brexit meltdown | RT (RT: “Spain’s general elections ended with another inclusive vote, adding to Europe’s political chaos in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.”). We have found 13 references to “chaos” in four RT reports on the British EU vote results.

On descriptions of the aftermath of the Brexit vote, the Voice of America also appears to be in good company with Russia’s news agency SPUTNIK. SPUTNIK’s reports also have many references to “chaos” with regard to the British vote.

Here are three SPUTNIK headlines which look strikingly similar to the Voice of America headline:

Chaos Over UK Markets, Currency and Jobs Due to Brexit” | SPUTNIK

Poland Leaks French-German Plan for EU Superstate Amid Brexit Chaos” | SPUTNIK

Brexit Bombshell: Chaos as UK Votes to Quit European Union” | SPUTNIK

The Voice of America report, Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts” | VOA, is presumed to be a news report. It is not described on the VOA website as a news analysis or a personal commentary by its author.

As of 9:00 PM ET Tuesday, June 28, 2016, there are six comments under the VOA’s Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts report. Nearly all of these comments take issue with at least some portions of the VOA report.

“Britain is not leaderless and rudderless as the doomsday people would have all believe,” one reader wrote under VOA’s “Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts” report. Another wrote: This title for this VOA article should not be “‘Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts’ but ‘Leaderless, Rudderless, London Drifts’. Since it is only London that cannot accept the Brexit results,” wrote another visitor to the VOA website.

While such comments are anecdotal, this VOA report, RT, and SPUTNIK appear to want convey a different theme, spelled C-H-A-O-S. Good job VOA. You are in good company.

READ: “Leaderless, Rudderless, Britain Drifts” | Voice of America, June 28, 2016


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