USAGM WATCH COMMENTARY

The official Trump White House newsletter 1600 Daily has accused U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) in the $800 million U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) of spending taxpayers’ money “to speak for authoritarian regimes.” The White House noted that VOA’s annual budget is about $200 million. The White House said that “Today,… VOA too often speaks for America’s adversaries—not its citizens.”

In recent weeks, the Voice of America has posted under a VOA logo a number of one-sided propaganda videos, some of them originated by foreign governments.

The origin of the first video, which was specifically mentioned in the White House newsletter, is not clear, but it was shot in Wuhan, China and tweeted by the Voice of America.

In recent weeks, USAGM Watch noted several other Voice of America videos which can be described as one-sided foreign government propaganda.

Voice of America Video showing Chinese Team Arriving to Assist in Italy Coronavirus Battle, march 13, 2020.
VOICE OF AMERICA VIDEO SHOWING Chinese Medical Team, Equipment Arriving in Milan, Italy, march 18, 2020.
Voice of America Video showing Medical Equipment from China Arriving in Serbia, march 21, 2020.
VOice of america Video showing Coronavirus Test Kits Arriving in Ukraine From China, march 23, 2020.

The Voice of America also posted previously under its logo other one-sided propaganda videos, including some showing the burning of American and Israeli flags. The Voice of America also employed until recently a TV contractor who prior to working for VOA produced anti-U.S. Russian propaganda videos with conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic overtones.

SEE: Six raw videos of burning U.S. and Israeli flags got 3,500,000 views on Voice of America, BBG Watch, December 19, 2017

WHITE HOUSE CONTENT

Here is the full text of the 1600 Daily as copied from the White House website on April 9, 2020 at 8:00PM EDT.

Voice of America is a global news network funded by American taxpayers. It spends about $200 million each year on its mission to “tell America’s story” and “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively” to people around the globe.

Today, however, VOA too often speaks for America’s adversaries—not its citizens.

The Coronavirus pandemic is no exception. Secrecy from the Communist Party of China allowed the deadly virus to spread across the world.

Journalists should report the facts, but VOA has instead amplified Beijing’s propaganda. This week, VOA called China’s Wuhan lockdown a successful “model” copied by much of the world—and then tweeted out video of the Communist government’s celebratory light show marking the quarantine’s alleged end.

Even worse, while much of the U.S. media takes its lead from China, VOA went one step further: It created graphics with Communist government statistics to compare China’s Coronavirus death toll to America’s. As intelligence experts point out, there is simply no way to verify the accuracy of China’s numbers.

The Coronavirus story is just one example of this pattern. Last year, VOA helped highlight the Twitter feed of Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif while he was issuing threats against the U.S. and sharing Russian anti-U.S. propaganda videos.

“VOA will represent America,” its guiding Charter reads. And for years after its founding during World War II, VOA served that mission by promoting freedom and democracy across the world for audiences who longed for both.

Today, VOA is promoting propaganda instead—and your tax dollars are paying for it.

END OF WHITE HOUSE CONTENT

USAGM Watch, published by volunteers most of whom are former Voice of America journalists, has been commenting on frequent use by some of the Voice of America services of propaganda and disinformation from various countries, particularly China, Russia, and Iran, often without any challenge or balance.

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