President Donald J. Trump listen’s to a reporter’s question at the coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Friday, March 27, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Several days ago, there was a dust-up at one of Trump’s Wuhan pressers. It involved a “reporter” from Phoenix TV, which is based in Hong Kong. The President questioned whether she was beholden to the Chinese government or not. Predictably, she skirted the question, claiming her outlet was “privately owned.”
President Trump asks a reporter "who are you working for, China?"
She says that her company is private and based in Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/jDNcAlO4Y4
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 6, 2020
The truth was that her outlet is actually partially owned by a Chinese state bank and has repeatedly made itself a mouthpiece for the CCP. Yet, this supposed reporter was given a hard pass to spread propaganda about China helping the world and other such nonsense.
Trump’s push back naturally upset some American journalists.
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
Regardless of the silly outrage by China defending publicly funded PBS reporters like Alcindor, the real question is how exactly this Chinese propagandist ended up in the briefing in the first place.
Now, we have some answers per The Daily Caller.
Richard Latendresse, a Canadian journalist who serves as the White House Foreign Press Group’s secretary, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email that the Phoenix TV reporter is a member of the organization with rotating access to the foreign press’s seat for press briefings.
“The Phoenix TV reporter in question is a member of the White House Correspondents Association. As a result, she became a member of the White House Foreign Press Group because she not only is a member of the WHCA, but also has a ‘hard pass’ to be in the White House Briefing Room that was granted to her by the current administration,” Latendresse said.
“This reporter is therefore part of our regular rotation of members who have access to our seat during press briefings in the White House,” he added. “There are usually about two dozen of our members who have access to that one seat. During this time of social distancing, only nine are opting to physically attend the briefings.”
In other words, the dumpster fire organization that is the WHCA either failed to vet this outlet at all, or they purposely gave a Chinese propaganda outlet press credentials. Neither explanation is a good one. Keep in mind, this is the same WHCA that kicked OANN out of briefings last week and constantly rails about “freedom of the press.” Yet, they saw fit to allow someone who speaks for the CCP to spew talking points at the President. I find it hard to believe they simply didn’t know about the background of the outlet in question.
Just how bad is Phoenix TV? They are the “news” channel in Hong Kong which televised the “confessions” of people who were arrested by the Chinese government.
“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.”
Worse, the WHCA has already let this happen again.
”Reporter” Ching-Yi Chang, told @realDonaldTrump he is from Taiwan yesterday in the White House.
He was *born* in Taiwan.
But he *works* for Chinese state owned Shanghai Media Group – a propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) April 9, 2020
There is no excuse for any of these outlets to hold hard passes to the White House. The President needs to step in and revoke them while also scolding the WHCA for their lack of standards. Let them cry if they must, and no doubt they will cry. But some things are more important than allowing the media to virtue signal.