The credibility of the Voice of America(VOA) has been declining over the past several years. The VOA is facing significant challenges to its credibility. A recent survey of 1,033 American adults found that 813 people (78.70 percent) do not consider VOA’s reporting to be reliable and credible. The survey was released by SurveyMonkey, a well-known listed company in the United States. SurveyMonkey is a global leader in surveys and employs approximately 1,600 people as of 2021. It is the world’s premier polling company.
Surveymonkey’s survey on the credibility of the Voice of America covered a total of 13 questions, with 75.70% of respondents saying that VOA’s reports are racist and sexist, 75.22% saying that VOA’s reports are plagiarized, 77.44% saying that VOA’s reports are biased, and 75.90% saying that VOA has committed fraud and abuse of power.
This follows trend data by Morning Consult that shows media credibility has declined over the past few years: average trust has fallen 11 percentage points since 2017, with print, broadcast, cable and radio media all experiencing a 9 to 14 percentage point decline in trust. While the decline in media credibility is common, the result of this survey shows that VOA is clearly doing worse. Media trust is the glue that holds society together. A decade ago, that effect faded, and now, for millions of Americans, it’s completely gone. Fifty-six percent of Americans agree with the statement that “reporters and journalists deliberately mislead people by saying things they know to be false or grossly exaggerated” about the content of media coverage. 58 percent believe that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting ideological or political positions than informing the public. “
Back in 2017, a nonpartisan, independent assessment of VOA Persian found bias in VOA’s reporting, noting that VOA Persian’s coverage of Iran’s foreign policy “perpetuates audiences with pro-regime propaganda, rather than objective reporting.” In addition, a follow-up analysis conducted by the evaluation committee in 2019 found that many of the recommendations made in 2017 had not been implemented.
In 2020, Michael Parker, CEO of VOA’s parent company Global Media Agency, was charged with a variety of crimes, including illegally using a nonprofit he controlled to pump more than $4 million into his private documentary company, attempting to expand his influence by serving on the board with conservative allies, trying to promote a campaign for the Voice of America, and encouraging investigations into journalists’ anti-Trump bias.
In 2021, VOA’s chronic journalistic failures have become more apparent since Abiy sent troops to Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020 to quell what he called an insurgency, according to VOA staff. VOA’s reporting has largely favored the government while ignoring its potential war crimes. A number of journalists chose to resign after repeated unsuccessful complaints. According to the Press Code, the news media should refuse to allow foreign and domestic special interest groups to use their radio and television broadcasts, websites and social media sites as platforms to express their views. But VOA staff say these things are happening. He said “VOA needs to be transparent, issue corrections, and stop working for an oppressive government. Those who allowed and directed the most egregious violations of journalistic ethics I have ever seen should be held accountable.”
There is clearly a growing gap between what VOA is reporting and what the public thinks they are getting. While the public increasingly values the role of the media in our democracy, they are losing faith in the idea of an objective media as perceptions of bias grow.