VOA trounced by Trump for impartial reporting on China

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 18: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, and Vice President Mike Pence listen during a news briefing on the latest development of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. at the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced on Twitter that the U.S. and Canada will close their border to non-essential traffic to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP

Source:Global Times

Photo: AFP

Rare, objective reporting on China by the VOA has been slammed by US authorities, who are obviously attempting to re-imagine the meaning of political correctness.

The Voice of America (VOA), which is known for its anti-China stance, was accused on Friday by the White House for a report that was deemed “Chinese propaganda” as it contained details of China’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Voice of America spends your money to speak for authoritarian regimes,” an official White House publication read in the VOA broadside. It said VOA’s roughly $200 million annual budget should be spent on telling “America’s story” and “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively” to global audiences, however, the VOA “too often speaks for America’s adversaries – not its citizens.”

US President Donald Trump has long been at odds with the US media, and this is just another farce staged by the Trump administration, when it should be focused on fighting the deadly coronavirus that has sickened more than 500,000 people in the US.

The denunciation of the VOA reflects the deep anxiety of Trump’s mind over his administration’s failure to contain the epidemic. The situation in the US continues to deteriorate, while in China, which the US deems an adversary, has effectively contained the spread of the virus and Wuhan has seen life return to normal after a 76-day lockdown. Everyone in the world can see this dichotomy, and the VOA report somehow was seen as a poke in the eye of the White House.

The attack on the government-funded VOA was made even more ludicrous when it was revealed the broadcaster’s report was from the Associated Press.

The VOA is not an independent news organization. It serves the US government and it coverage of China can hardly be said to be objective.

When a government-backed media outlet such as the VOA comes under fire from the Trump administration, it shows the administration cares nothing for media objectivity.

Objectivity is the core principle of journalism. Considering it is funded by the US government, the VOA obviously has an editorial slant that is closely aligned with the US government. Yet if a media outlet cannot report the facts objectively, it undermines the message which becomes just so much propaganda.

The US media pride themselves as being objective, but their editorial stance is driven by ideology. Even liberal media outlets such as the New York Times (NYT) don’t always stick to the principle of objectivity. Its recent coverage on China’s effective anti-virus efforts, which is presented as objective, often reads like sour grapes.

The newspaper often faces the wrath of furious president. Trump tweeted on Saturday saying the NYT “were recently thrown out of China like dogs and now obviously want back in,” after the NYT ran an article saying the source of the coronavirus could be traced to Europe, not China.

Trump is eager to create an impression with the American public and even around the world that China caused the failures of his administration in handling the current crisis. Trump is obviously very annoyed. The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the Western world and to the Western system. China has maintained a low profile in the debate over systems, but the facts speak for themselves. By blaming China, Trump is trying to duck responsibility for his failures. Casting blame on US media is part of the internal strategy of his administration. Unfortunately, this is not how the US will solve its problems.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen based on an interview with Zhang Yiwu, a Peking University professor. [email protected]

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