BBG Watch Commentary
It took U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 million FY 2017) Voice of America (VOA), part of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) agency ($740 million, including VOA), which even Hillary Clinton called “practically defunct” during the Obama presidency, more than two hours under its current Obama holdover leadership to post on its VOA English News website an important White House statement on anti-regime demonstrations in Iran.
Our review of the VOA Persian Service website showed that it also did not post the White House statement on Iran for more than two hours from the time it was issued Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 8:16 PM ET. There was also no initial mention of the White House statement on Iran on VOA’s social media pages.
The agency’s leadership and VOA executives failed to plan for and organize emergency coverage of the Iran crisis. The Voice of America Central Newsroom has been largely empty, as it usually is on holidays, weekends and after business hours in Washington. During the Cold War, the Voice of America had and implemented special news emergency coverage in such situations.
Obama administration officials still in charge of the agency and VOA had no prior experience in managing a federal workforce or U.S. international media outreach and public diplomacy.
The first mention of the White House statement on Iran on the VOA English News website showed up only after some of the former VOA journalists alerted the agency’s top leadership about the delay in VOA’s coverage.
VOA News has started a “Live Blog” on Iran only after criticism from BBG Watch, an independent transparency website. There were technical problems last night with the blog which appears on the VOA English News website.
In some of its earlier coverage, VOA English News reported on Iranian regime’s propaganda about “foreign agents” being responsible for the deaths of demonstrators without challenging them as lies.
ALSO SEE: Voice of America highlights dying roosters and Iran regime propaganda as protesting Iranians die, BBG Watch, December 31, 2017.
ALSO SEE: VOA English News has 0 Facebook videos on Iran protests, BBG Watch, December 30, 2017.
ALSO SEE: Iran Protests Missing from Voice of America VOA News English Homepage, BBG Watch, December 29, 2017.
On Dec 31, 2017, at 8:16 PM, White House Press Office <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2017
Statement from the White House Press Secretary
We support the right of the Iranian people to express themselves peacefully. Their voices deserve to be heard. We encourage all parties to protect this fundamental right to peaceful expression and to avoid any actions that contribute to censorship.
The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW · Washington DC 20500 · 202-456-1111
The VOA English News website shows the first mention of the White House statement at 10:32 PM ET.