- Voice of America (VOA) is a government-run agency operating under the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which is taxpayer funded.
- Its 1976 charter promises to be “accurate, objective, and comprehensive,” and a social media policy prohibits employees from voicing partisan opinions in public spaces.
- One Facebook page, which likely belongs to VOA Press Freedom Editor Doug Bernard, has numerous anti-Trump content dating back years.
A Voice of America (VOA) editor may have a Facebook page littered with anti-Trump posts, despite the government-run news outlet’s rule banning partisan comments in public spaces.
VOA’s Press Freedom Editor Doug Bernard appears to run a Facebook page under a different name that includes countless anti-Trump memes, comments and more. VOA has a social media code that requires VOA employees to be impartial in public spaces, to “adhere to a high standard of independence and objectivity” and more.
“Fuck Trump,” one image shared shows.
The taxpayer-funded news agency also aims to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news” that is “accurate, objective, and comprehensive,” according to its 1976 charter.
“VOA’s best practices require journalists to make sure that the content of their personal social media accounts reflect their professional objectivity,” Bridget Serchak, director of public relations for VOA, wrote to the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email. “We will be happy to look at anything you feel does not meet that standard.”
The DCNF provided photographs of the specific Facebook posts upon VOA’s request and it is looking into whether rules were broken. VOA did not respond by deadline when asked if the social media posts violate VOA policy.
The Facebook page believed to be Bernard’s is operating under the name “Doug Johnson,” and its link reads “DougBJohnson.” Photos the page’s operator posted include one showing the full photo of Bernard’s VOA headshot.
“Also, as a point of clarification, the full name of the individual you mentioned is Doug Bernard Johnson, but he goes by Doug Bernard because when he first arrived at VOA there was already another on air journalist named Doug Johnson, so he had to use Doug Bernard so as to not confuse audience members,” Serchak told the DCNF when asked for a comment on the contents of the Facebook page.
Another previous Facebook profile picture shows a “Voice of America” sign with chyron that identifies the person in the picture as “Doug Bernard, Voice of America.”
There are numerous other photographs on the Facebook page that show a person matching Bernard. There is also a video uploaded on the Facebook page from about six years ago that shows Bernard interviewing a man for an experimental VOA video, according to the caption.
“Another experiment for VOA program that never developed,” the caption reads. “The idea was to hear first-hand experience of history for web video. Works, or no?”
Bernard did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Johnson’s Facebook Page Has Numerous Shared Anti-Trump Messages
This Facebook page contains many anti-Trump comments, memes and more dating back years written and shared by “Doug Johnson.” Bernard has worked for VOA since 2002, according to BBG Watch.
One post on the Facebook page reads, “Take that, 2016,” with an accompanying video titled “The 2016 Song.” The song includes lyrics such as “yes the USA’s now governed by a fuck-cheeto with hair” and “three cheers for fucking Trumpy and his neo-Nazi crew.”
Another post from 2016 reads, “I can have no public opinion on this race. This is a well crafted view from one side. I’ll look for and post a well crafted view from the other side,” with a link to a GQ article titled “If You Vote For Trump, Then Screw You.” No “well crafted view from the other side” appeared to be posted.
One post reads, “Someone’s been naughty in our hood. Casey swears he’s innocent,” with a photo shared of a dog in front of “Fuck Trump” graffiti. A photo was also shared of a New York Daily News frontpage depicting President Donald Trump as a clown, with Johnson writing: “The New York Daily News’ understated frontpage.”
“I dreamed I was helping get fancy rooms ready for the Inaugural, when for some unknown reason dogs started crapping and workers vomiting on the posh carpeting,” a January 2017 post on the Facebook page reads, ahead of Trump’s inauguration.
“New favorite game: spot the Trump Supporter on Metro” was posted in 2017 as well.
‘VOA Will Represent America’
VOA is an “objective” news source, according to its charter, but has failed to report physical and verbal attacks on some conservative journalists. This includes journalist Andy Ngo, who received a brain hemorrhage at an Antifa rally on June 29.
“I’m familiar with the story; uncertain if or how we might approach it. Sort of lost the ‘news’ angle with time,” Bernard told the DCNF in July when asked if a statement had been released on the Ngo attack.
“Hands more than full today with new report targeting dozens of Turkish journalists and groups, including BBC and VOA,” Bernard continued. (RELATED: Committee To Protect Journalists Calls Attack On Andy Ngo ‘Unacceptable’)
Commentator and political activist Candace Owens was also not reported on. Antifa targeted her after California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu played part of her comments on former German leader Adolf Hitler at a hearing on hate crimes in April.
“You know, he was a national socialist, but if Hitler had just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine,” Owens said according to the clip Lieu played. “The problem is that he wanted — he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize, he wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German.”
Owens said Lieu took her words out of context and failed to play the entire message.
“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,” the outlet’s 1976 charter reads.
The agency has been active in reporting freedom of the press issues involving Trump.
Trump joked to Russian President Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists during their meeting in Japan in June at the G-20 economic summit.
“Lobbing terms like fake news at journalists is no laughing matter, and it is deeply concerning to hear both President Trump and Putin yet again wielding this dangerous rhetoric,” Radsch said.
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