voice of america

VOA began radio broadcasting in 1942, to combat Nazi propaganda. Per its charter, it is mandated to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” Since WWII, it has been the front-edge of America’s informational interface with citizens around the world, particularly those battling dictatorships and tyranny. [...] VOA is the largest public diplomacy program of the United States government and broadcasts in more than 40 languages.

Photo of Jo Stafford with guest William Boyd AKA Hopalong Cassidy on her Voice of America radio show.

A new paper in our Perspectives series looks at U.S. international broadcasting.

If you were to ask the VOA’s editors why they run stories that violate their Charter, they would probably tell you that they don’t have the manpower to cover everything. But these lapses are, in the end, inexcusable. [...] If the VOA’s editors have to choose between running a one-sided story that violates their Charter, or no story at all, then they should run no story at all.

Journalism Aircraft Landscape, by Gabito222

The Voice of America was never intended to do investigative reporting, nor should it.

A little more than seven weeks after the United States officially entered World War II, a live, 15-minute shortwave radio broadcast was transmitted into Germany from a small studio in New York City on February 1, 1942. It was introduced by the American patriotic song "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Then, announcer William Harlan Hale's voice could be heard saying: “We bring you Voices from America. 

Most Americans probably don't think about it much, and some may even be unaware, but the United States has a government-funded international media outlet, Voice Of America. Now that Donald Trump is president, VOA, at least in a technical sense, is under his control. If you are thinking "This may not end well," you may be correct.

About a month ago, Politico reported that some officials at Voice of America were concerned that the former reality-show personality might try to turn VOA into “an unfettered propaganda arm.” Politico published a follow-up piece yesterday on the state of those fears as a pair of political operatives from Trump’s campaign showed up at the VOA offices.

December 21, 2016

Kim Andrew Elliott was around for the founding of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Here, he muses on its demise and why it matters.

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