In a blistering statement on Friday, the White House laid into Voice of America (VOA), the taxpayer-funded news service, accusing them of using federal funds to spread Chinese propaganda about the coronavirus pandemic.
“Voice of America is a global news network funded by American taxpayers,” the statement says. “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 statement criticized VOA for a recent tweet in which the news service shared a video about China celebrating the end of the lockdown in Wuhan. In the tweet, VOA praised Beijing’s response to the coronavirus as a “model” that could be replicated by other countries.
“Even worse,” the White House statement said, “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.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, VOA’s director Amanda Bennett said she had no idea why the White House was attacking the outlet.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you what prompted it,” Bennett said. “I don’t actually know. It just came out of the blue. We have never promoted propaganda for anyone. We cover stories from all different sides. That’s part of the reason we are so trusted by people around the world.”
As Bennett should well know, you don’t have to literally reprint press releases from the Chinese Communist Party to promote their propaganda. Any news outlet that’s giving any credence whatsoever to the statistics coming out of Wuhan and Beijing is doing so. It’s not quite as absurd as taking Kim Jong Un’s word for it that there is no coronavirus in North Korea…but it’s pretty close. How many times can China lie to the world before news organizations start treating them with a bit of skepticism?
Ah, but see, propping up China’s response to the coronavirus lets these news outlets focus their entire fury on President Donald Trump and his administration’s response to the pandemic. And they’ll overlook just about anything if it lets them get back to that mission.