BBG Watch Commentary

A journalist who writes for the U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224M FY2017) Voice of America (VOA) Persian Service posted this on social media:


“Obama a ‘moderate’ only in context of American imperialism. Was no friend of the Middle East…or, more importantly, the American people.”


The tweet by the VOA writer led to inquiries from members of Congress.

The Voice of America and its parent agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) lack well-informed and effective leadership. Critics point out that VOA director Amanda Bennett had praised a one-sided VOA Spanish Service report in which Donald Trump’s immigration policy was described as one of “hate and prejudice” without his position on immigration being described or defended by his supporters.

Critics also charge that Bennett had initiated one-sided VOA panels in which Iranians and others made factually false statements about alleged widespread attacks on Muslims in the United States. These statements were not challenged or balanced but rather promoted in VOA and BBG press releases.

BBG CEO John F. Lansing, a former commercial entertainment TV executive, lacks prior experience in inter-cultural international communications, U.S. foreign policy, public diplomacy or U.S. government operations.

The writer of the American imperialism tweet and Obama being “no friend of the Middle East” or “the American people” was reportedly reprimanded, but many such posts from VOA staffers have appeared on social media in recent months under the non-existing watch of Amanda Bennett and John Lansing.

One VOA reporter had called Donald Trump “F*ckface Von Clownstick.” in a Facebook post. The same VOA reporter also had posted on a personal but publicly accessible Facebook page a meme showing Donald Trump’s face with a Nazi swastika and another meme depicting Mr. Trump as a sexual organ.

While these memes and tweets appear to have been posted by VOA reporters outside of their official U.S. government work, the VOA Ukrainian Service had translated into Ukrainian and posted online on an official VOA Facebook page a video in which Donald Trump was called “punk,” “dog,” “pig,” “con,” “buls**t artist,” “mutt,” “idiot,” “fool,” “bozo,” and “blatantly stupid.” VOA did not attach to the video a rebuttal or a response of any kind. The video was eventually removed.

Commenting on yet another one-sided Voice of America commentary, a former high-level U.S. government official, a presidential appointee who prefers not to be identified by name, told BBG Watch:


“Just as the Broadcasting Board of Governors confronts its well-deserved abolition, the Voice of America again proves why this was necessary.
Its stable of ‘journalists’ left no doubt that they opposed President-elect Trump’s candidacy; and they now oppose his incipient presidency. Voice of America’s tendentious ‘commentary,’ permeated not just with all the shibboleths of Washington’s anti-Trump elite but with an unambiguous visceral distain for the president-elect set a new low bar in VOA’s history.
Selectively quoting a former CIA director to call Mr. Trump ‘a useful fool’ for Russia demonstrates that the commentator and those at the VOA who approved this effort to please their tony friends in think tanks or the media have abandoned all notion that the role of America’s international media is to work on behalf of the United States.
They have chosen sides; they are so-called ‘independent journalists,’ and they believe they are empowered—indeed, required—to tell the world the way it is, even at the expense of diminishing America’s chosen leader in the eyes of those who look to America as something special and essential.
Who hires these hacks? How is it possible that they can work for the Voice of America? Is this what they believe American taxpayers want? Why hasn’t the Director of the Voice of America been shown the door?
Please, Congress. Clean the Augean stables of the Voice of America now. Not tomorrow. Now.”



ALSO SEE: Some Voice of America reporters broke new hate speech ground in 2016, BBG Watch, January 6, 2017.


ALSO SEE: Washington Times op-ed: Voice of America airs “pro-Iranian regime propaganda” and “wild fantasy-land libel” against Trump, BBG Watch, November 27, 2016.