On Friday, an events summary produced by the White House digital team fired criticism at Voice of America for spreading propaganda on behalf of Communist China. The statement read:
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 statement noted, “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.”
Amanda Bennett, who leads Voice of America and is the wife of Donald Graham, whose family used to own The Washington Post, responded, “We are thoroughly covering China’s disinformation and misinformation in English and Mandarin and at the same time reporting factually. V.O.A. has thoroughly debunked much of the information coming from the Chinese government and government-controlled media,” according to The New York Times.
VOA is run by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).
The Heritage Foundation has said of the U.S. Agency for Global Media:
The U.S. Agency for Global Media is the government’s primary public diplomacy tool and is funded to the tune of $685 million by U.S. taxpayers. It dwarfs any other expenditure by the government on international outreach, including educational and cultural exchanges, embassy outreach, and American centers at foreign universities. In the hands of left-leaning producers and directors, much of the broadcasting paid for by U.S. taxpayers resembles that of CNN more than anything else, both in its story selection and its anti-Trump bias.
Additionally, a number of scandals have erupted in recent years, calling into question management and professionalism. One example was the report in December by the House Foreign Affairs Committee detailing abuses by broadcasting staff in political postings on their social media pages.
A Stanford University report in 2018 from the Hoover Institution stated:
VOA officials sought to scale back what were perceived to be sensitive reports. After running two years of a radio series on aspects of modern Chinese history, including the Cultural Revolution and other events post-1949, VOA cut the program in 2009 despite several of those shows garnering well over three million hits each on the web …
In 2012, a Chinese immigrant, who was also a former Chinese dissident and a specialist on the US political system, became the first female Chinese head of the service. She was later fired over a controversial interview that drew the official ire of the PRC, which threatened repercussions. Since her dismissal, VOA’s Mandarin service has resumed a pattern of avoiding stories that could be perceived to be too tough on China, according to several staffers.