BBG Watch Media

BBG Watch has been pointing out for some time one-sided commentaries on the Voice of America (VOA) news website–some of them not clearly identified as commentaries and their authors’ affiliation with VOA not clearly stated. VOA is overseen by the bipartisan board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency in charge of all U.S. civilian media outreach abroad.

In an article for Commentary Magazine, posted online July 6, 2015, Michael Rubin described a recent VOA News report which he found questionable, lacking journalistic balance and misleadingly titled: “As Potential Deal Draws Near, Iran Talks Critics Out in Force.”

Commentary is a monthly American magazine on politics, Judaism, social and cultural issues founded by the American Jewish Committee in 1945. Dr. Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Criticizing Voice of America’s journalistic standards and practices, Michael Rubin wrote that “there’s little that can be done of course unless Congress calls VOA directors to account and use the power of the purse to create a cost for such a lack of professionalism.” “When VOA actually publishes a piece on the deal’s critics and then apparently fails to speak to any, it certainly raises questions about the value of the taxpayer support,” he observed.

Michael Rubin, Commentary: “The whole piece is worth reading; it really is astounding. The VOA — an organ which seeks credibility through balance — reports that the “critics [are] out in force,” and yet fails to quote a single critic. Instead, it gives voice to two outspoken proponents of the deal — one of whom once declared that everything he does, he does for Iran and neither of whom are actually American citizens (Parsi is Iranian-Swedish) — and allows them to make straw man arguments that make light of the very real arguments against the nuclear deal as it appears to be shaping up.”


READ MORE: Voice of America Shuns Professionalism, Embraces Deal, Michael Rubin, Commentary, July 6, 2015


VOA Charter, (U.S. Public Law 94-350) requires that “VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news” and that “VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.”

VOA Charter also states 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.”

Another provision of VOA Charter states that “VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.”

VOA Journalistic Code states that “Whenever VOA reports a charge or accusation made by an individual or a group against another, or presents one side of a controversial issue, a response and/or balancing information will be included in the first use of a news item or feature containing that material.”

Voice of America budget, which is 100% funded by U.S. taxpayers, is $211.9 million in FY2013.

BBG’s entire FY15 Budget is $742 million with 3,590 staff.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in January 2013 that the “Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world.”


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

A double win for BBG Watch at Voice of America may be linked to arrival of CEO Andy Lack, January 27, 2015.

Note: Andy Lack left the BBG after only a few weeks on the job.

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

Another no rebuttal Voice of America column attacking Netanyahu, BBG Watch, March 21, 2015.