“Wherever the readers are, wherever the viewers are, that is where propaganda reports must extend their tentacles.” — Xi Jinping, February 2016
We are now weeks into what amounts to a nationwide insurrection. Monuments have been defaced, statues toppled, and the commercial centers of our great cities gutted. Yet, throughout, most of our mass media has characterized violence and lawlessness on an unprecedented scale as “peaceful protests.” The scope of the destruction has been concealed. The demands of the anarchists and Marxists rampaging across America seemingly systematically mischaracterized simply as demands for justice and reform.
What’s going on? How, in a nation rooted in the rule of law and respect for the democratic process, have we reached a point where violence and lawlessness are not only condoned but championed? Why are the guardians of the First Amendment seemingly in league with groups dedicated to destroying the existing social order?
Some of the explanation no doubt lies in the fact that much of what passes for our mainstream media is simply so blind in its hate for Donald Trump that it will support anyone and anything that seems to oppose him. There are other factors at work, however, and some of what is transpiring may, in fact, be due to a decidedly anti-American agenda and the desire of a particular foreign actor not only to damage this great nation but to promote its own particular ideology.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses propaganda and influence operations as a means of projecting its power and weakening its enemies. Chief amongst the targets for these kinds of operations is the United States. These operations are not run on some kind of ad hoc basis. They are coordinated and directed at a national level by the CCP’s United Front Work Department.
The CCP’s United Front system mobilizes the party’s “friends” to strike the party’s enemies. The system has existed for a long time, but it has been greatly energized and expanded in recent years by Xi Jinping. It operates inside foreign political parties, diaspora communities, colleges and corporations, all with the goal of promoting the party’s interests. The express goals of the United Front system include undermining social cohesion, exacerbating racial tension, and influencing politics.
Offices known as “Confucius Institutes” on dozens of U.S. campuses have “longstanding and formal ties” with the United Front Work Department. As of this writing, there are 81 such institutes in the United States. The express purpose of these institutes is to shape American attitudes toward the CCP and Communism. The institutes are staffed by Chinese nationals and their purpose within the United Front system is to feed American students and faculty members positive images of Communism and the Chinese Communist Party. The students whose minds are shaped then, obviously, go on to careers not only in academia but throughout America including in the media.
Perhaps even more insidious than the obvious efforts of the Confucius Institutes to mold the thinking of both students and professors at institutions of higher learning across the nation, however, are the direct inroads the CCP has made into the so-called mainstream media in this country. Armed with massive amounts of cash and leveraging the lure of the Chinese market the CCP has in essence bought the voices of much of the “free press.”
“You often see representatives from American companies with financial ties to China naturally become defenders of the CCP’s policies and spreading the CCP’s propaganda,” says Helen Raleigh, an author and senior contributor at The Federalist who emigrated from China.
Most of the major American media outlets are owned by parent companies. These companies all have significant business interests inside China. They are dependent on Chinese goodwill and the approval of the Chinese government to safeguard those interests.
The New York Times
Carlos Slim a Mexican billionaire owns 17.4 percent of the company and votes for one-third of the board. Slim has massive business dealings with Chinese companies tied to the CCP. Among those ties is Huawei which is currently subject to U.S. sanctions for espionage and actions detrimental to American national security.
The Washington Post
In 2013, Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post for $250 million. Bezos has direct and massive ties to the Chinese market, which is controlled by the CCP. The production of Amazon’s most popular products like the Echo and the Kindle takes place almost exclusively in Chinese factories. When you purchase a Washington Post subscription, it comes with an advertising supplement called “China Watch.” This supplement is supplied courtesy of China Daily, a Chinese state-run media outlet.
The company is owned and run by WarnerMedia, which has significant financial and organizational ties to the CCP. WarnerMedia is invested in China Media Capital (CMC) a media company overseen by the Chinese Communist Party. CNN, via its President Jeff Zuckers, is involved with NBA broadcasts into China and efforts to expand NBA programming there.
MSNBC & NBC
Both MSNBC and NBC News are operated by NBC Universal, a company with huge financial ties to the CCP. NBC is in partnership with China’s state-run media organization. Xinhua has been identified by the U.S. State Department as a “foreign mission” meaning it is completely an arm of the CCP and does not function as an independent news outlet. NBC Universal’s Oriental DreamWorks is fully owned by a Chinese investment group.
Walt Disney and ESPN are both owned by ABC. Both companies have large investments in the Chinese economy. In 2019 when the NBA refused to denounce Chinese actions in Hong Kong, ESPN’s senior news director instructed the network’s staff to avoid discussing Chinese politics or matters related to Hong Kong.
Both former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his company Bloomberg LP are heavily invested in China. Bloomberg LP sells terminals to its website in the Chinese market and helps finance Chinese companies by sending billions of dollars from U.S. investors to the Chinese bond market. Bloomberg LP supports 364 Chinese firms. Of these 159 are owned by the CCP. In 2014 Bloomberg killed an investigation into the finances of the CCP elite. When the story was ready for publication, editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler crushed it saying “It is for sure going to, you know, invite the Communist Party to, you know, completely shut us down and kick us out of the country. So, I just don’t see that as a story that is justified.”
Powerful Chinese Influence
In short, essentially all major American media outlets other than those of a more conservative or libertarian bent are subject to powerful Chinese influence. What they cover is what the CCP wants them to cover. What they say is what the CCP wants them to say.
A recent example is telling. In a report looking at evening news broadcasts from January 17 through March 13, the Media Research Center found that out of 634 minutes of coronavirus coverage, just 3 minutes and 14 seconds were in any way critical of the Chinese government’s actions. In twenty percent of the stories, reporters cited Chinese statistics. Those statistics, regarded as fraudulent by most objective observers, went unchallenged 97% of the time.
This relationship between the U.S. news media and the CCP is only getting cozier. Recently, the State Department asked all U.S. employees of the Chinese state TV network CGTN to fill out detailed questionnaires with personal information. Based on the reporting at least six former CNN reporters were found to now be working for the Chinese company.
Perhaps then when we turn on the television and see the actions of Marxists and revolutionaries being celebrated we should not be surprised. When we see the President and law enforcement vilified we should not be shocked. It’s just Beijing and the CCP’s minions doing their job. It’s the United Front.