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VOA Airs Carter Interview Criticizing U.S. Policy

Former President Jimmy Carter says that if Barack Obama is elected president he could change the image of the U.S. abroad "in ten minutes."

 In an interview with the U.S. government-backed Voice of America, with a potential audience of 134 million people worldwide, according to VOA, Carter lit into the present administration, at least by inference, saying that Obama can say: 'When I am president of the United States, we will never torture another prisoner. While I am president of the United States, we will never go to war against another country unless our own security is directly threatened. When I am President of the United States, we will be the champion of human rights all over the earth."

 Is that a surprising message for the government to beam to the world? No, says VOA public affairs officer Noreen Kinnavy. "By its charter, we have to cover all aspects of our society," she says. "Coming from former President Carter, it is a news story for us. Our audience understands that is Carter talking, not VOA, because we cover all aspects of the political spectrum."

 Kinnavy says that is how VOA can function as journalists. "A lot of the places we are broadcasting too have government control of the media, so it is really important that we not skew things one way or another, otherwise we lose credibility, and our audience."

 VOA is covering both conventions, she points out, and has extended a similar offer to John McCain, Republican presumptive nominee for president.