Documents from the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that since October 2021, CCP-controlled paper China Daily spent $287,500 to advertise in USA Today. The DOJ filings also revealed that the Chinese newspaper spent $1,618,143 on advertising in different mainstream media (MSM) publications between November 2021 and April 2022. These include $649,603 to Time magazine, $315,540 to the Financial Times, $306,000 to the Los Angeles Times and $117,000 to Foreign Policy magazine.
The DOJ first required China Daily to disclose details of its payments to American MSM publications back in 2020. It found that since November 2016, the CCP-controlled publication had spent more than $19 million on advertising and printing costs.
The partnership between USA Today and China Daily coming to light follows scrutiny over attempts by the CCP to shape U.S. perception of its domestic and foreign policy. The CCP mouthpiece does this by means of its "China Watch" advertorials that run both in print and online. However, human rights groups have slammed MSM publications for allowing "China Watch" pieces – which present a favorable view of China – to run.
On one hand, USA Today's choice to accept advertising money from China Daily was a practical decision following a steep decline in readership. The L.A. Times and Time magazine also faced the same predicament, with declines in subscriptions and advertising revenue making the CCP-owned publication's money an irresistible offer. On the other hand, several MSM newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post ended their deals with China Daily following scrutiny.
USA Today did not respond to questions about where it has published China Daily content, and if there were potential conflicts of interest with its partnership with the Chinese newspaper.
Back in December 2020, lawyer and Chinese affairs expert Gordon Chang warned that Beijing is using American newspapers to manipulate public opinion and promote "insidious narratives" through the "China Watch" advertorials. He made this warning during an interview with Jan Jekielek, host of the Epoch Times' "American Thought Leaders" program. (Related: Beijing using US newspapers to push "insidious" narratives, says China affairs expert.)
According to Chang, the "China Watch" pieces are oftentimes articles that follow a pro-Beijing slant. The pieces tackle U.S.-China relations, the Chinese economy and Chinese culture. The "China Watch" inserts, Chang explained, allow the CCP to propagate its own narratives to American readers.
The Chinese affairs expert gave one example of how "China Watch" skews the truth about the communist country. A supplement that ran in the Nov. 29, 2020 issue of the L.A. Times quoted the Red Cross Society of China, which purportedly claimed that registered organ donors in the country had increased by more than twice in the past 20 months.
The November 2020 supplement's goal was to convey that "all of the [donated] organs are available in China because they come from willing donors" and that it sought to counter claims that China is harvesting organs from prisoners.
"There is substantial … [and] growing evidence that defenseless people are being killed for their organs. So we've got to realize that this is not just some sort of laughable propaganda put into the L.A. Times. This really is promoting insidious narratives," Chang told Jekielek.
DOJ filings for the year 2020 revealed that China Daily paid the L.A. Times $340,000 for advertising between June and October of that year. The CCP-owned paper had also paid the MSM publication $110,000 in printing costs between May and October of 2020.
"The L.A. Times accepted a lot of money to propagate China's narrative. Shame on the L.A. Times and other major U.S. publications that have run similar inserts," remarked Chang.
Watch the video below that talks about Beijing's influence on Hollywood studios – aside from MSM publications.
This video is from the CyberSymposiumClips channel on Brighteon.com.