BBG Watch Commentary

BBC, RT (Russia Today) and other world media are reporting that Harvard University has evacuated its campus among unconfirmed reports that explosives may have been placed in some university buildings, but the Voice of America (VOA) has not posted a news report on the incident at Harvard.

UPDATE: VOA eventually posted a report from Reuters, “Buildings Evacuated at Harvard After Report of Explosives,” Reuters – VOA site. But unlike a BBC report pointing out that final exams were under way at the elite college, Reuters’ report did not. BBC has now updated its report: “Harvard University reopens after evacuation,” BBC; VOA has not.

Both BBC and RT make it clear that it is not known whether any explosives have been placed and stress that there are no reports of any having been found so far.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the buildings have been evacuated while the report is investigated. Harvard’s focus is on the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We will update the media when we have more information,” the University posted on its website.

But even if the threat may very well turn out to be a hoax — or not — major news organizations consider it their duty to report promptly on a potentially serious security threat at an internationally well-known American institution. AP and other news wire services are reporting on the incident at Harvard. Taxpayer-funded VOA is required by law to report on U.S. news for international audiences. Many international students study at Harvard.

A report about the search for explosives at Harvard is now the third most read news story on the BBC website. The incident started Monday morning. As of 12 noon, there is still no news about it of any kind on the VOA website.

The Voice of America was also hours late behind BBC and RT (Russia Today) and other media in reporting last week on a shooting at a school in Colorado. Media reports said that a massacre may have been avoided since the Colorado school shooter, who killed himself, intended to harm many persons.