by WorldTribune Staff, April 10, 2020
Voice of American (VOA) “amplified Beijing’s propaganda” by calling the Chinese Communist Party regime’s Wuhan coronavirus lockdown “a successful ‘model’ copied by much of the world,” according to an April 9 article in 1600 Daily, an online newsletter and email produced by the White House.
“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,” the 1600 Daily article said. “As intelligence experts point out, there is simply no way to verify the accuracy of China’s numbers.”
Voice of America is a government-funded media outlet with a wide foreign audience.
The timing of the article in the White House newsletter coincides with the arrival of Mark Meadows as President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff. The former North Carolina representative, who founded the House Freedom Caucus, has already acted to restructure the White House communications team.
“Voice of America spends your money to speak for authoritarian regimes,” reads the headline of the item in Thursday’s 1600 daily. “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 1600 Daily article accused VOA of straying from its founding purpose during World War II: “’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.”
Dan Scavino, White House director of social media, tweeted a VOA video which he said amplified “China’s very own propaganda” by showing a celebration of Wuhan, epicenter of the coronavirus, after that city ended a 76-day lockdown to slow the virus.
VOA Director Amanda Bennett tweeted: “Our team works hard to fact-check and hold authorities and leaders accountable for what they say. We have a whole department dedicated to this effort.”
“And we call out China for hiding and obfuscating some facts and their lack of transparency in articles like this,” Bennett wrote before linking to a VOA article accusing the Chinese government of lying about when its first coronavirus case was detected, saying that “Scientific reports have said the first cases of what turned out to be the novel coronavirus behind the disease COVID-19 were detected weeks earlier.”