Dan Robinson retired in 2014 after 34 years with the Voice of America. In addition to his assignment as senior White House correspondent from 2010 to 2014, he served as bureau chief in Nairobi, Kenya and Bangkok, Thailand. He was also the chief of the VOA Burmese Service and the Capitol Hill correspondent. Views expressed here are his own.

Maximum Hubris: The USAGM – Part One

April 9, 2019

How one of the worst federal agencies perpetuates itself at the expense of an unknowing public, with the help of Congress and public diplomacy high society.

USAGM – BBG Watch readers — discerning as they are — know that things that they hear from the U.S. Agency for Global Media (formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors) — how to put this — strain credulity.

Former Analyst Challenges USAGM Audience Measurement Methods, Claims of Sharp Increases

March 27, 2019

A former analyst for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees taxpayer-funded broadcast and online media directed at overseas audiences, has publicly challenged the methods used by the agency in making audience size claims. An audience research analyst for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors) for many years, Kim Elliott, Ph.D., is the first former official to raise questions about USAGM figures.

Re-Branded USAGM Limits Media Coverage of WASHINGTON PR Event: No Questions Wanted

September 14, 2018

Many Americans might think that the rare re-branding of any federal entity, especially above the “micro-agency” level, would make headlines.  In the case of the BBG — classified as a mid-sized agency, with a budget of about $750 million — it produced pretty much a yawn. In the hours after the initial announcement, BBG CEO John Lansing’s feed showed few reactions.  Indeed, a recheck as this article goes to press showed 3/22/32 — just 3 comments, 22 retweets, and 32 likes — not exactly a huge outpouring of global response.

Time to Revisit Status of VOA, Other Government Media, in Washington Press Galleries

June 7, 2017

VOA has successfully made the case to Washington press associations that its government-paid reporters are no different than those working for commercial media. But the defense bill signed by Obama marked a new stepping off point, and it’s one that correspondent organizations on Capitol Hill and at the White House must take note of, and at the very least need to decide where they stand. Are they OK with maintaining full or partial memberships for VOA reporters who, in the end, are paid by a U.S. federal agency being drawn ever closer to government policy and direction?  Will they put to a vote whether government-paid journalists should have full voting status in the galleries?

OPINION Spare the indignation: Voice of America has never been independent

March 30, 2017

ROBINSON OP-ED COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Questions About Conflicts of Interest at the Voice of America

Dan Robinson who had a nearly 35 year career at Voice of America (VOA) argues in a new Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) opinion article that the U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 million FY 2017) has never been truly independent while it has been “seriously mismanaged” and in the view of Congress not doing enough “as part of the national security apparatus, to assist efforts to combat Russian, ISIS, and al-Qaeda disinformation.”

ROBINSON OP-ED: Questions About Conflicts of Interest at the Voice of America

June 15, 2016

The American Thinker piece also noted the presence on VOA airwaves and its website of Barbara Slavin, the Washington-based foreign affairs journalist who has also served as a moderator and news analyst on VOA’s website. Noting Slavin’s involvement in moderating programming dealing with Trump, Rayne cites instances between August of 2015 and this past February, in which Slavin posted or forwarded to others, anti-Trump tweets.

BBC’s Live Program Dominance Over Voice of America

June 9, 2016

Thursday June 9th brought one of the most glaring examples of how one global, impactful, news organization — that would be the BBC — so often dominates another that has, to put it mildly, struggled in recent years — the Voice of America.

VOA used to be known for having a number of pretty good news programs, especially back in the days when it was still a major broadcasting force with extensive global shortwave radio transmissions.