USAGM Watch Commentary
Sara A. Carter , a national and international award-winning investigative reporter and Fox News contributor, broke the story on the Voice of America (VOA) enhancing and posting under the VOA logo a political campaign ad, “asking the Muslim community both in the United States and abroad to support Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden.“
In her report, Carter said that “BBG – USAGM Watch, a watchdog group which monitors the VOA, along with other U.S. government international broadcast stations, has investigated extensive concerns regarding employees working for VOA and continued problems with promoting anti-American or partisan political commentary and news.“
USAGM Watch learned independently that VOA managers were vague in providing information to new Trump-appointed officials in the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) about the political campaign video which when posted in full on VOA social media platforms without any additional context and balance violated the VOA Charter, U.S. government laws and internal VOA regulations. New USAGM CEO Michael Pack who was nominated by President Trump and started working only recently after a long-delayed confirmation by the U.S. Senate, had no choice but to rely for the time being on Voice of America managers who have been with the organization for many years. He can appoint a new VOA director, but the selection and vetting process takes time.
Some of the same longtime managers under whose lax watch the VOA Ukrainian Service posted a similar one-sided anti-Trump campaign video in 2016, in which Trump was called — “punk,” “dog,” “pig,” “con,” “bull**t artist,” “mutt,” “idiot,” “fool,” “bozo,” and “blatantly stupid” — are still in charge of VOA programs, but USAGM Watch confirmed that they were not aware of the VOA Urdu video being posted and would not have approved such a posting if they knew about it ahead of time.
Voice of America managers were reluctant to provide USAGM’s new executives with a satisfactory explanation as to how such a violation of journalistic standards could occur following other similar incidents in recent past. Michael Pack is now searching for a new permanent VOA director who could prevent such violations of the VOA Charter from continuing.
In her report on SaraACarter.com website, the reporter said that “VOA did not immediately respond to numerous emails for comment. “
According to the source, it appears that VOA employees “repackaged an ad” to post on the site in support of Biden.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R- Arizona and Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told this website Monday night that if this video was posted on VOA’s social media platform it should be investigated.
“It is outrageous that VOA, a taxpayer funded communications organization, used its platform to campaign for Biden,” Biggs said.
Posting the video by VOA appears to directly conflict with its charter and may be a considered a Hatch Act violation, said several officials familiar with the ad.
In her report, Carter pointed that that the ad enhanced and posted by the Voice of America “uses Biden’s promise to ‘end the Muslim ban on day one’ if he is elected to office. She added for clarification, “there is no Muslim ban in America.”
Biden’s comments from his video conference with Emgage Action is the bulk of the ad, which uses scare tactics on Muslim voters to effort their support for Biden. It is not certain, at this point in time, what group or person produced the video but the VOA posted it with their logo on their social media platforms, a U.S. government official confirmed.
In 2016 when VOA was managed by Obama administration appointees who remained with the agency until very recently and promoted many of VOA’s current managers, editors and journalists, the VOA Ukrainian Service enhanced partisan video presented by VOA on social media with the VOA logo, also appeared to condone physical violence against Trump.
In 2014, the VOA Urdu Service produced another controversial video.