Voice of America.
The name rings with a resonance few agencies in the world can muster. The Voice of America was the voice of the free world during the Cold War, carrying news of global happenings to those living behind the Iron Curtain where such news was suppressed. After the downfall of the Soviet Union, polls and surveys discovered VOA played a part.
Through the years the mission of VOA has been misunderstood, with a seeming overlap between VOA and the other bureaus of US international broadcasting, such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and so on. What appears to be needed is a clear statement that says VOA covers the world, including the United States. Plain and simple.
VOA is currently being attacked by the media for possibly being a mouthpiece for President Trump, although it has always been a potential mouthpiece for every President. Now, however, anything and everything is being used as a weapon for politics. Again, a simple statement is all that is really needed.
VOA’s Charter acts as its mission statement. From their website,
- VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.
- VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.
- VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.
What VOA really needs to do, in my opinion, is come out with a clear statement what VOA does in comparison with all the other bureaus. Critics can reach into tons of negative coverage and saturate VOA with bad press. As a pre-emptive tactic and strategy, a really simple mission statement needs to be made. Such as:
Proposed VOA Mission Statement:
VOA tells America’s message to the world from an overall global perspective with a critical eye towards telling the story of the United States. Straight, truthful, and honest, we strive to be the first to tell the truth as best as we can. We avoid spin, we avoid propaganda, and we avoid agendas – of any type. Our job, indeed our mission, is to accurately portray America’s story when others are attempting to twist our story into something we are not.
Purists will advise to avoid the word truth or truthful, for murky reasons. I say pshaw, try to tell the truth and avoid the hassles. Notice I say try. Military planners will point out it does not encompass the 5 Ws. Pshaw.
The VOA Charter is notable for its simplicity, why fight the trend?
Kill multiple birds with one stone, eh?