BBG Watch Commentary

A significant portion of Voice of America’s news coverage on Memorial Day weekend was done by reposting wire service reports on VOA’s main English language news website. We heard but could not confirm that when at least one VOA Central Newsroom reporter called in sick, Voice of America had to resort to posting wire service reports on a breaking Washington, DC story and for reporting on other U.S. and international news, at least initially for several hours.

VOA relied mostly on wire services to report on Sunday’s presidential election results in Poland. Voice of America central news service did not report on President Obama’s statement on Polish elections, but one of the wire service reports on the VOA main news website from Associated Press had a reaction on the victory of a conservative Polish politician from President Putin. How ironic.

If such reactions are not newsworthy in VOA’s opinion, why report on Putin’s statement, but not Obama’s?  Outgoing VOA director David Ensor was reporting from Poland  in his previous career as a U.S. TV network correspondent. In our view, the White House was clearly trying to send a subtle political message with its Memorical Day statement on the Polish elections.

An AP report posted by Voice of America on VOA’s website informed VOA’s international audiences of the following:

VOICE OF AMERCA posting from AP: “In Moscow, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin congratulated Duda and “expressed confidence that building constructive relations between Russia and Poland … would strengthen security and stability in Europe.”

Since Voice of America would rather quote President Putin commenting on conservative Polish politician’s Andrzej Duda’s electoral victory, here is a statement from U.S. President Barack Obama, which BBG Watch found on the White House website. Reading between the lines, some may deduct that the Obama White House was not delighted with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski’s defeat, but the U.S. hopes that Andrzej Duda will still be a responsible and reliable partner. 

Office of the Press Secretary
May 25, 2015


Statement by the Press Secretary on Elections in Poland

We congratulate President-elect Andrzej Duda on his election in Poland’s May 24 presidential election, and we applaud the people of Poland for remaining a model of freedom and democracy in the region through their election process. We also thank President Bronislaw Komorowski for his support for Polish-U.S. ties and for his strong leadership in the region. Poland is one of our closest transatlantic partners and a stalwart NATO Ally, and we look forward to working with President-elect Duda to advance our shared values and to build a more democratic, prosperous, and secure region, and to deepen the already strong partnership between our two countries and peoples in the years to come.