What happens when you combine wealthy business elites with axes to grind, a semi-retired reporter out of his depth and a major newspaper with low editorial standards? You have the perfect recipe for a factually-challenged hit piece against honest journalists.
Liberally season it with baseless and gratuitous race-baiting of the virtue-signaling variety, and you get the crème-de-la-crème of shoddy hit jobs – in this case, The Los Angeles Times’ attempt to not just discredit the Daily Caller News Foundation’s recent reporting, but also smear us as vile racists.
The Times published its hit piece, titled “Far-right media outlet targets L.A.’s Asian business leaders. They’re fighting back,” in response to the DCNF’s meticulously-researched and fact-checked exposé of former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s ties to apparent Chinese intelligence and influence operations.
In a nutshell, DCNF investigative reporter Philip Lenczycki – who is fluent in Chinese, spent years living there and has extensively studied how the CCP operates – carefully documented Garcetti’s numerous interactions with members of groups identified by U.S. government reports and China experts as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence and influence fronts. (RELATED: ‘Huge Red Flag’: Inside Biden Nominee Eric Garcetti’s Ties To Members Of Alleged Chinese Intel Front Groups)
We also found that two prominent businessmen who donated to Garcetti’s mayoral fund were listed as “executive directors” of two organizations identified by experts and U.S. government reports as front groups for the CCP’s United Front Work Department. Those are provable facts.
One of those businessmen was Dominic Ng, CEO of East West Bank, whose ties to apparent CCP front groups we’ve reported on previously. The other was Walter Wang, CEO of JM Eagle, who seems to be the motive force of the Times’ smear piece against us.
Instead of reaching out to us directly, Wang told the Times he was going to sue us, hired a well-known Hollywood attorney to threaten us, and then seems to have gotten the Times to uncritically – even gullibly – publish his side of the story while dismissing or ignoring our well-documented evidence and condemning us as racists.
The so-called reporter behind the Times’ smear piece is Russ Mitchell — who “covers the rapidly changing global auto industry” and appears to have no Chinese language proficiency or China background whatsoever. It shows. Mitchell’s piece is littered with factual errors and omissions, all neatly tucked into a completely ludicrous narrative that we are the racist vanguard of a new McCarthyism.
We initially thought Mitchell’s piece was an op-ed because it was so heavily editorialized and error-laden. In fact, we’ve already forced the Times to issue corrections for basic factual errors that were so flagrant, we’re stunned they even made it into print.
If the Times truly cared about journalistic integrity, they would retract the piece in full. But they haven’t, so we think it’s necessary to correct the record and let the public know just how egregious this hit piece really is.
Mitchell smeared us as racists and claimed our investigation was “devoid of damning facts, heavy on innuendo” and “painted Garcetti and Wang as dangerous stooges of the Chinese Communist Party.” That is how propagandists write, not journalists.
More importantly, that’s how someone writes when they can’t actually rebut the facts. Mitchell’s weak attempts to dismiss all the evidence we gathered included this line:
“Both Wang and Ng acknowledge they have been photographed in group shots that may have included members of the Chinese Communist Party,” Mitchell wrote, adding that because “most business leaders in China are members of the party,” those doing business in China will “come into contact with Communist Party members.”
So the line Mitchell swallowed hook, line and sinker was “Hey, we all do it.” Yes, the CCP dominates China’s elite circles, but what the DCNF found was that Ng and Wang were photographed not just in casual business settings but with high-level members of the very same front groups with which they claimed to have no ties. (Wang’s high-priced attorney also tried to push that ridiculous excuse). We also found as a fact that both Ng and Wang had attended the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing as “overseas representatives” in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
The CPPCC is the “highest-ranking entity overseeing the United Front system” and is considered a central organ in the CCP’s overseas influence campaigns, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Those are a U.S. government commission’s words, not ours. But that was too much reporting for Mitchell to handle.
Likewise, Scott McGregor and Ina Mitchell, (no relation to the LA Times automotive reporter) co-authors of “The Mosaic Effect,” recently told us the CPPCC is a “patriotic united front organization” composed of “communist party loyalists” that “functions as an advisory board to the leadership of the CCP.”
Funny how Mitchell didn’t mention that at all, despite that being brought to his attention.
Mitchell completely omitted the fact that Ng’s spokesperson admitted he actually had been a member of one of the apparent CCP front groups in question. Despite this (and the mountain of evidence we gathered), Mitchell goes on to claim our reporting merely “insinuated a connection between Ng and the Chinese Communist Party.” Damn those pesky facts.
Mitchell ran cover for Wang in much the same way, claiming: “Wang said… he’s never been a member of the organizations in question.” Mitchell does admit the organization’s website lists “someone” with the name Walter Wang who worked for his family’s business in Taiwan, but dismisses this entirely on the laughable theory that as “Westerners” we probably don’t understand the commonness of the name “Wang.” Please.
We, of course, shared with Mitchell publicly-available photos of Wang meeting the apparent front group’s high-level leaders, as well as CCP leaders, and noted how Wang’s biography on China’s equivalent of Wikipedia specifically identifies him as a member of this group in the first sentence.
We could write a small book on the LA Times’ errors at this point, so let’s move on to the truly egregious part of their hit piece – that we’re just a bunch of racists.
Mitchell claims we’ve “leaned into” the theme that “Chinese and Taiwanese Americans with any connections to China are probably up to some very un-American activities.”
He adds: “Though the attacks so far have focused on politicians and high-profile business leaders, Wang and others fear the repercussions could trickle down to Asian Americans in general.”
Mitchell wants you to believe we’re the vanguard of a racist, Neo-McCarthyite movement to bring back internment camps (yes, he seriously suggests that later in the piece). That’s not just false, it’s an egregious twisting of reality. One has to wonder if Mitchell knows that the only Asian-American internment camps were created by order of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the left’s paragon of virtue and goodness.
His piece totally leaves out the fact that our most high-profile China investigation centered on CIA Director Bill Burns’ ties to the CCP while heading an elite D.C. foreign policy think tank. Burns is white, not Asian. Again, those pesky facts.
The Times also overlooked our voluminous reporting on other non-Asian individuals with CCP entanglements, such as Harvard’s Charles Lieber, Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman, NBA player LeBron James, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Andy Jassy, Trump confidant Stephen A. Wynn, Biden White House advisor John Podesta, former U.S.-China Business Council head Robert Knapp, New York mayor Eric Adams, not to mention the Biden family. To the best of our knowledge, none of those people identify as “Asian Americans.”
Mitchell’s “racism” thesis is rendered even more absurd by the fact that our co-founder Neil Patel is an Asian immigrant. Though Mitchell was informed of this, he conveniently left that out of the Times’ smear piece. I wonder why?
The Los Angeles Times seems to think CCP connections to American elites is just not something the American people should know about, and merely questioning these connections is “racist.” Mitchell went so far as to even write: “Wu, Ng and Wang say it’s dangerous to drag loyal American citizens into concerns about China’s government, whether the fear is justified or not.”
Again, it makes you wonder. We’d hate to think it has anything to do with the Times’ own dealings with the CCP. The outlet — owned by prominent Asian-American activist Patrick Soon-Shiong — has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from Chinese state-run media. The sad thing is, they’re not alone.
In closing, many American elites have grown rich from business dealings with China’s fast-growing economy. Numerous corporate media outlets, including the Times, have happily taken CCP cash in exchange for pushing propaganda. They’ve gotten fat off the CCP cash cow while Americans have suffered from horrific trade policies that hollowed out our heartland.
Americans are demanding accountability. We will not stop reporting carefully and accurately on the efforts of the repressive Chinese communist regime to influence elite Americans and American policy.
Bungled hit pieces written by dishonest and “woke” semi-retired auto industry reporters (who perhaps were trying to curry favor with his publisher and save his job or seek promotion) are certainly not going to dissuade us from this important work — work which the corporate media should be doing itself, but for its massive bias on this issue.
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