Chinese Communist Party paid DC radio station millions to air favorable content

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

If you ever needed another excuse to restrict your radio listening to the Salem Media Group family of broadcast outlets (find your local station here), this is probably a pretty good one, particularly if you live in or around the Beltway. It turns out that an AM station in Washington, WCRW, has been airing content taken directly from the Chinese Communist Party for decades, pushing favorable coverage of the Chinese government on unsuspecting American citizens. And they were paid handsomely for it, too. The small AM outlet was receiving more than two million dollars per year from the CCP between 2019 and 2021. And those are only the years that we have records for thanks to recent changes to how foreign agent laws are enforced and how such companies need to register with the Justice Department. (Free Beacon)

The Chinese Communist Party has paid a Washington, D.C., radio station $4.4 million over the past two years to broadcast propaganda, according to new federal foreign agent disclosures.

The Virginia-based Potomac Media Group detailed its lucrative contract with the Communist Party’s International Communication Planning Bureau in filings last Thursday with the Justice Department. As part of the deal, Potomac Media’s WCRW, an AM station, airs content from China Global Television Network and a series of talk shows that portray China in a positive light.

Potomac Media’s filing with the Justice Department provides extensive details about its arrangement with the International Communication Planning Bureau, an arm of the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department.

I suppose that’s pretty good money if you can get it, eh? $2.2 million per year is nothing to sneeze at, particularly when radio revenues have been on the decline in recent years. We don’t know how much money they took from the CCP in total, but WCRW has been airing content supplied by China Radio International (a propaganda wing of the Communist Party) since 1992. It’s only in the past two years that they have been required to register as a foreign agent of China with the Justice Department.

Perhaps this will present an opportunity for some introspection and reflection by the management at the station. I mean, when you reach the point where you’re filling out required paperwork declaring to the United States government that you are literally “a foreign agent of China,” wouldn’t you start to question some of your life and career choices? Or is that just another day at the office?

Sadly, it turns out that WCRW isn’t the only media entity that’s been cashing checks on the CCP’s dime. China has made similar content publication deals with all sorts of media entities including Time, Foreign Policy, and even the Wall Street Journal.

China is clearly very sensitive to how the rest of the world views their activities. They don’t like it when people bring up inconvenient facts about the genocide against the Uyghurs, their theft of intellectual property, and the convenient disappearance of any of their own people who dare to criticize the CCP. So in typical communist party fashion, when they need some positive headlines to paint them in a better light, they just start flashing some cash around and buy them.

Sadly, it appears that this sort of duplicitous purchasing of fake news isn’t illegal, provided the participants in the United States register their activities with the Justice Department. But consumers of media need to be made aware of what sort of content they are receiving and who is paying for it. That’s a much tougher challenge to achieve.