Founded in 1942, Voice of America (VOA) was designed to be an unbiased, straight news source that people around the world could trust. While frequently labeled as “propaganda” the network insists the best propaganda is, and always has been, the truth.
But perhaps this has changed.
VOA is part of a $1.2 billion taxpayer funded appropriation which, according to John Kerry, is aimed to counter “misinformation about American society and policies.”
As I wrote last month, biased media and manipulated polling led most of the nation to believe that Donald Trump had virtually no chance of winning the presidency.
VOA subscribed to the same opinion, and those who listened to the network in the weeks and months before the election may have believed that Trump was a white supremacist with support from the KKK.
VOA was so certain of Hillary’s imminent victory that VOA Persian Service Director Setareh Derakhshesh asked reporters – two weeks in advance – to prepare a special program celebrating the nation’s first female president.
VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) insisted that Russia would be the only world power to welcome Trump’s arrival as the next US President because he “serves Russian interests and is associated with Russian investors.”
PNN brought in Mehdi Nourbakhsh, the son-in-law of former Islamic Republic of Iran Foreign Minister Ibrahim Yazdi, to speak the morning after the election. “Trump will leave the presidency to Mike Pence and will go back to what he had been doing before,” said Nourbakhsh. “Trump will hand Syria totally to Russia. Trump is not representing all America. He is representing ultra right, white color, low educated, religious fanatics who cannot see a woman in leadership.”
VOA later invited Reza Goharzad, another Trump-hater, to speak about the president-elect’s cabinet nominations. Goharzad slammed Steve Bannon and Senator Jeff Sessions as “racists,” demanding that they “apologize to the American people.”
In the wake of such assertions – which went unchallenged by VOA – The Washington Times argues that “America’s ‘voice’ has been transformed into the Voice of Tehran.”
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) defended the station, stating that “VOA Persian aired two days of special election programming, which included over seven hours of election results. The service’s election night broadcasts included the live speeches of both Trump and Clinton with simultaneous translation.”
This was an outright lie. VOA did not show speeches by either Trump on Clinton on election night.
“The VOA is terminally ill,” reports The Times. “House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, California Republican, has devoted an entire page on the committee’s website to long-standing unsuccessful efforts to reform the VOA. Former and current employees have set up a blog to chronicle the disaster.”
The PNN has been deteriorating for some time now, with a 2015 survey showing that hardly 30% of the network’s employees believing that the station’s leaders “maintain high standards of honesty and integrity.”
“In recent years, the Obama administration has brought in more than a dozen reporters from Iranian regime media outlets who have transformed America’s “voice” into the Voice of Tehran,” writes The Times. “Some of these individuals last worked for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
The Times believes that Voice of America is worth saving, but calls to shut down the “corrupt” PNN. “It’s time to shut it down and save the taxpayers some money and our nation from public embarrassment.”
Editor’s note: VOA has traditionally represented the best of American values. This is truly a sad turn.