As if President Donald Trump didn’t have it tough enough facing a gauntlet of hostile, activist media at his daily coronavirus task force briefings, now he has to address questions from reporters linked directly to communist China.
At Monday’s White House news briefing, as the president navigated the usual landmines of gotcha questions and unhelpful innuendo from American reporters, a fresh face emerged.
A reporter working for the Hong Kong-based network Phoenix TV really wanted to know if the president was “cooperating” with China’s communist regime, while simultaneously portraying China as a source of humanitarian aid for Americans.
“Only last week, there were multiple flights coming from China for medical supplies, companies like Huawei and Alibaba have donated to the United States. Like 1.5 million N95 masks, and also a lot of medical gloves and much more medical supplies,” she said.
Trump responded, “That sounds like a statement more than a question.”
“Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai last night wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling for cooperation with the United States,” the Phoenix TV reporter continued. “So are you personally working directly with China on medical supplies?”
Trump attempted to answer the question when the reporter interjected.
“Are you cooperating with China?” she asked.
“Who are your working for, China?” Trump demanded. “You work for China? Who are you with?”
“Hong Kong Phoenix TV,” the reporter responded, “It’s based in Hong Kong.”
“Who owns that, China?” Trump pressed. “Is it owned by China? Is it owned by the state?”
“It’s a private-owned company.” the reporter answered.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 7, 2020
And here’s a more condensed version:
Trump was, of course, roundly criticized by members of the White House press corps for grilling the reporter about her potential affiliation with Beijing.
In a Twitter post, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor appeared surprised the president would question the reporter about her ties to China.
President Trump just asked a reporter from Phoenix TV which is based in Hong Kong repeatedly if she’s working for China. She said she works for a private company in Hong Kong that is not owned by the state. Trump said, “OK good.”
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 6, 2020
CNN correspondent Vivian Salama also made an issue of Trump’s impromptu interrogation.
The reporter asked a question about whether Trump is willing to work with China on the issue of medical supplies. Trump interrupted her and spoke about the trade deal. He didn’t answer her question.
— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) April 6, 2020
But, if you were watching, you got a sense that President Trump was really onto something — and he was.
The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross did what the establishment media reporters were apparently unwilling to do when he unearthed some very interesting information about Phoenix TV from media watchdogs The Hoover Institution and the think tank Freedom House.
The Hoover Institution, for example, in an evaluation of various Chinese media outlets, deemed Phoenix TV in 2018 as a “quasi-official” media platform that is “fully controlled by Chinese government.”
And in a 2017 report outlining Chinese government influence in the U.S., Freedom House researcher Sarah Cook evaluated Phoenix TV and found that it is “the second most widely available Chinese-language television station on cable in the United States.”
Cook further found the network is owned by “a former military officer with close ties to Beijing officials.”
“Phoenix TV’s coverage is typically favorable to the [Chinese Communist Party]. Moreover, over the past two years, it has been used as an outlet for airing televised confessions by various detained CCP critics, most notably all five Hong Kong booksellers abducted by Chinese security forces in late 2015,” she wrote.
Cook also wrote that state-run China Central Television was reported to hold a 10 percent stake in the network.
The White House Correspondents Association determines who can attend news briefings, which means it was the WHCA that allowed the Phoenix TV reporter into the room in the first place.
While the establishment media has already proven itself to be more than willing to carry water for China’s authoritarian regime, it is now enabling actual reporters from outlets with ties to the Chinese Communist Party to attend the president’s briefings.
That was a mistake. The American people already have a low opinion of the media’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Some of these same mainstream media reporters celebrated a week ago when the correspondents’ association voted to remove conservative One America News Network from the daily briefings.
At the White House, I asked about Chinese Propaganda peddled by press in the White House…
WHCA members had a meltdown.
So they removed OAN from their little chair club.
China Propagandists Pheonix TV has a seat in WHCA’s little chair club.https://t.co/jP7TqgToiG
— Chanel Rion OAN (@ChanelRion) April 7, 2020
While the establishment media is more than happy to let China do so, President Trump is intelligent enough to see right through it. The American people are, too.
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