Republicans are sounding the alarm after a reporter with ties to China’s Communist Party obtained access to a White House press briefing and asked questions that promoted Chinese interests.
A reporter from Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, which the Hoover Institution has labelled a “quasi official” Chinese outlet, asked President Trump at Monday’s briefing whether he is “cooperating with China.”
“Only last week, there were multiple flights coming from China full of medical supplies,” the reporter said at Monday’s White House briefing. “Companies like Huawei and Alibaba have been donating to the United States, like 1.5 million N95 masks and also a lot of medical gloves, and much more medical supplies.”
“Sounds like a statement more than a question,” Trump answered.
The reporter then asked Trump if he is “personally working directly with China” on securing medical supplies.
Trump touted his administration’s trade deal signed with China in January before asking, “Who are you working for, China?”
The reporter answered in the negative and named Phoenix TV as her outlet, calling it a “privately-owned company.”
Senator Ted Cruz heavily criticized Phoenix TV, which he said “has been waging information warfare in the US for yrs. They are nominally private but actually state owned.”
“MSM should NEVER have given them seat at WH press conference,” the Texas Republican added.
“So to recap, the WH Correspondents Assoc gave a seat at the WH press briefing to an employee of the Chinese Communist govt, to ask globally televised Qs to POTUS, at the same time China is waging a propaganda campaign to hide their culpability & coverup of the Wuhan virus?!?” Cruz added.
The White House Correspondents’ Association wields control over which outlets have access to the briefings.
“Why is an outlet with such close ties to Communist China allowed in the White House briefing room?” Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, asked in a tweet.
A former Phoenix TV news director testified to the FCC in 2018 that the outlet was under tight enough control by the Chinese government to be ordered to remove specific news items that “positively reported [on] the United States or events in the United States.”
“I know from personal experience that Phoenix TV’s content is subject to the dictates of the leadership of the Central Communist Propaganda Department, Central Communist Overseas Propaganda Office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which often directly sent instructions to Phoenix Satellite TV,” said the former director, Chung Pong, who said he was fired in 2002 by then-Chinese president Jiang Zemin.