Tag: Russia

Cold War, Featured, OWI, VOA

Voice of America? – Why The Question Mark?

In 1948, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate charged that Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts contained “baloney,” “lies,” “insults,” “drivel,” “nonsense and falsehoods,” amounting to “useless expenditures” and “a downright tragedy.”

In 1948, U.S. senators called VOA programs “ridiculous,” “unjustified” and “deplorable.” Liberal, moderate, and conservative lawmakers, some of whom even accused the Voice of America of “slander” and “libel” in how several U.S. states were described in radio programs acquired from NBC under a government contract, did not seek to de-fund and close down VOA but wanted to make it more effective in presenting America to the world and in countering propaganda from Soviet Russia. Their criticism eventually led to partial personnel and programming reforms in the early 1950s. In 2019, history seems to be repeating itself, with similar problems being reported at the Voice of America as the United States tries to respond to propaganda from Putin’s Russia, communist China, theocratic Iran and other nations under authoritarian rule. Today, there is little interest in the U.S. Congress and no obvious signs of management reforms, while some of the problems seem now more difficult to solve than those besetting the broadcaster in 1948.

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Featured, History, VOA

Stalin Prize-Winning Chief Writer of Voice of America News

Cold War Radio Museum

The News Bureau room of the Office of War Information (OWI), November 1942, at about the same time Howard Fast started writing Voice of America newscasts. The photograph’s official caption said: “It is arranged much the same way as the city room of a daily newspaper. Here, war news of the world is disseminated. In the foreground, are editors’ desks handling such special services as trade press, women’s activities, and campaigns. The news desk is in the background.” Smith, Roger, photographer. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540.

VOA logo, 2019.
Yankee Doodle Voice of America (VOA) signature tune reportedly proposed by VOA chief news writer (1942-1943) Howard Fast who later received the 1953 Stalin International Peace Prize.

 “I established contact at the Soviet embassy with people who spoke English and were willing to feed me important bits and pieces from their side of the wire. I had long ago, somewhat facetiously, suggested ‘Yankee Doodle’ as our musical signal, and now that silly little jingle was a power cue, a note of hope everywhere on earth…” 1

Howard Fast, 1953 Stalin Peace Prize winner, best-selling author, journalist, former Communist Party member and reporter for its newspaper The Daily Worker, decribing his role as the chief writer of Voice of America (VOA) radio news translated into multiple languages and rebroadcast for four hours daily to Europe through medium wave transmitters leased from the BBC in 1942-1943. Howard Fast, Being Red (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), pp. 18-19.

Notes:

  1. Howard Fast, Being Red (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), 18-19.
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OWI, VOA

Senator Taft’s early warning of Soviet propaganda in WWII Voice of America

Cold War Radio Museum Could a foreign power such as Russia try to infiltrate the Voice of America (VOA) or influence its executives, broadcasters and programs? Could U.S. government-hired journalists and program contributors, acting on their own, support in VOA broadcasts accommodation with authoritarian rulers in countries such as China, Cuba, Iran or even North Korea? Could one-sided propaganda produced…

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Exhibitions Updates, RFE, RL, VOA

SOLZHENITSYN Target of KGB Propaganda and Censorship by Voice of America

OPINION Cold War Radio Museum How Voice of America Censored Solzhenitsyn       SOLZHENITSYN Target of KGB Propaganda and Censorship by Voice of America   By Ted Lipien     This research article written for Cold War Radio Museum website to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik coup in Russia deals primarily with censorship at the…

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RFE, VOA

Radio Liberty Fails on Russian Interference

OPINION How Voice of America Censored Solzhenitsyn   Radio Liberty Fails on Russian Interference   By Ted Lipien   The vast majority of political propaganda and disinformation in U.S. media is originated domestically by American commentators, partisan think-tanks, reporters and social media users. But all too often, U.S. government officials, as well as journalists, both government-hired as in the Voice…

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Cold War, Glos Ameryki, History, International Broadcasting, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Russia, VOA

1944 Warsaw Uprising Betrayed by Pro-Stalin WWII Voice of America

August 1, 2015 marked the 71 anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Uprising, a 63-day unsuccessful operation by the Polish resistance Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa) to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. About 16,000 Polish fighters were killed and between 150,000 and 200,000 Polish civilians died, mostly from mass executions. After the Home Army capitulation in Warsaw, the Germans…

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Audio, Glos Ameryki, History, Photos, Poland, Public Diplomacy, Radio, Russia, VOA

WWII Voice of America aired Stalin propaganda to cover up his role in Katyn massacre

WWII Voice of America aired Stalin propaganda to cover up his role in Katyn massacre From deliberate pro-Stalin WWII propaganda to careless “pro-Putin bias” — Avoiding propaganda pitfalls at Voice of America By Ted Lipien Official documents declassified and released by the National Archives since 2012 show that during World War II and for years afterwards, the U.S. Government-run Voice…

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Audio, Cold War, Glos Ameryki, Poland, Public Diplomacy, VOA

Martial law prisoners in Poland praised Reagan, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe

Originally posted on December 4, 2013 Today’s political prisoners who are fighting for democracy and human rights are still being held in China, Iran and in many other countries. While much of Central and Eastern Europe, previously under Soviet domination is now free, Belarus and Russia are still ruled by autocratic leaders and pro-democracy forces in Ukraine are struggling to…

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Public Diplomacy

Coward Media

Commentary by Ted Lipien Istanbul, June 8, 2013. Protest signs on Taksim Square in Istanbul say “Coward Media.” The very few acts of vandalism during the initial days of the anti-government protests in Turkey were directed against TV vans of local networks. Protesters in Turkey were especially angry with CNN Turkish and NTV (MSNBC Turkish). Some of these media outlets…

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Public Diplomacy

Unique Role of U.S.-Funded Surrogate Broadcasters

BBG Watch Commentary Unique Role of U.S.-Funded Surrogate Broadcasters by Ted Lipien U.S. Government-funded surrogate broadcasting, which started with the formation of Radio Free Europe in the early 1950s, was one of the most successful American inventions of the Cold War. Its effectiveness was undeniable in helping to weaken communist regimes over a period of several decades. Most journalists and…

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Public Diplomacy, Radio, Russia

Fired Radio Liberty reporter Kristina Gorelik receives Moscow Helsinki Group Journalism Prize

BBG Watch Commentary Kristina Gorelik (Кристина Горелик), fired last September by American taxpayer-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) along with dozens of her colleagues, has received today the Moscow Helsinki Group prize for “journalistic activity aimed at promoting human rights values.” The prize was presented on the International Human Rights Day, December 10. At Radio Liberty, Gorelik specialized in human…

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Russia, Video

Remembering Radio Liberty in Exile Journalists on Thanksgiving

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, BBG Watch remembers Radio Liberty journalists who were brutally fired without a warning or chose to resign in protest against the actions of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty management. These journalists are facing now an uncertain future in Vladimir Putin’s Russia without any support or protection from their former U.S. taxpayer-funded employer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and…

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International Broadcasting, Newspaper Articles, Public Diplomacy, Russia

Corti and Lipien in National Review – Radio Liberty silenced by Washington

BBG Watch Commentary In an article published in National Review Online, Mario Corti and Ted Lipien argue that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) executives have mislead the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and the American public on the circumstances and the reasons for the mass firing of Radio Liberty journalists in Moscow. The authors state that contrary to the assertions…

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Public Diplomacy

Smith-Mundt Act Modifications Lack Protections Against Abuse

This commentary by Ted Lipien was republished from the Committee for the International Broadcasting (CUSIB) website. Smith-Mundt Act Modifications Lack Protections Against Abuse by Ted Lipien While the independent, nonpartisan Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting supports some changes in the Smith-Mundt Act, we and many other media freedom advocates share grave concerns that officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors…

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