HomeEditor's PickFacebook Journalism Project Partner Tied to Chinese ‘Marxist Journalism’ Training Ground

Facebook Journalism Project Partner Tied to Chinese ‘Marxist Journalism’ Training Ground

The Facebook Journalism Project is partnered with an entity who sponsors China’s Tsinghua University, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) training ground for the regime’s propaganda organs that openly teaches what it calls “Marxist Journalism.” Facebook itself also sent a Vice President to lecture at the University,  according to research. 

The Facebook Journalism Project describes itself as an entity which “works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve.” 

The Project does this through visiting “newsrooms and offer online courses to train journalists on how to leverage social tools to tell stories that matter,” and by partnerships “with news publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy, fund new initiatives, share best practices, and improve journalism on our platforms.”

One of Facebook’s partners, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), was found to be a corporate sponsor for Tsinghua’s Master of Arts Global Business Journalism Program in an investigation by National Pulse, along with Bloomberg, Merrill Lynch, and an entity which funds Facebook’s phalanx of demagogue “fact checkers,” Knight Group.

On Tsinghua University’s China-located website, in the Dean’s Address, the school’s leader advocates openly for applying Marxism’s theory of struggle to mutate journalism away from its traditional standard as a factually accurate public estate and towards a propaganda machine, “We should be committed to a firm and correct political orientation. Our School has been actively exploring the theory and practices of Marxist Journalism.” 

The dean says the so-called ‘Marxist Journalism’ should be used for “applying the Marxist theory in observing the world, selecting and handling news production.”

The Networking page of the University’s website also shows Facebook’s Vice President of Human Resources and Recruiting, Lori Goler, was a guest lecturer in 2017 alongside names such as CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Students graduate during a ceremony held for 3,768 masters and 898 doctorates being given out at the Tsinghua University on July 18, 2007 in Beijing. Tsinghua admits of its own accord to be a training ground for Marxist propagandists who go on to work both in the regime’s demagoguery machine and global blue chip corporations
Students graduate during a ceremony held for 3,768 masters and 898 doctorates being given out at the Tsinghua University on July 18, 2007 in Beijing. Tsinghua admits of its own accord to be a training ground for Marxist propagandists who go on to work both in the regime’s demagoguery machine and global blue chip corporations. (Image: China Photos/Getty Images)

A 2013 post on the ICFJ’s website is gushing in its praise for Tsinghua over placement of graduates both at high level CCP propaganda mouthpieces and big multinational corporations, “Graduates are working at media such as China Daily, South China Morning Post, People’s Daily, Economic Observer, Bloomberg News, China Securities Journal, Korean Broadcasting System, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, Global Times, Radio Beijing and China Radio International, as well as multinationals such as Deloitte, Ogilvy & Mather, Saatchi & Saatchi, Shell, Sony Ericsson and IBM.”

An unfortunate east-west connection

The post focuses on collaboration between the ICFJ and the East-West Institute (EWI). On Page 47 of the EWI’s 2011 Annual Report, the Institute thanks CCP United Front Work Department (UFWD) organ the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) for providing funding, “The China–United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) is a generous supporter of EWI’s Strategic TrustBuilding Initiative, particularly in the area of U.S.–China relations.”

EWI also says on its Strategic Trust Building page the organization received “the generous support of the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) and other private donors and was organized in close partnership with the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC)” to participate in the U.S.-China Sanya Initiative Dialogue in Beijing in 2018. 

The connection to the CUSEF is especially significant after a January investigation discovered through Foreign Agents Registration Act filings that U.S. public relations firm BLJ Worldwide had been representing the Foundation for many years in its efforts to co opt many of the biggest names in journalism, such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, CNN, and the Associated Press with perks such as luxury trips to mainland China.

The CCP is a top Facebook client

In early April, Facebook came under fire when it was found to be publishing whitewash ads paid for by Communist Party propaganda outlets in an attempt to discredit and deflect pressure away from fallout over the mounting scandal resulting from the regime’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

In one case, Xinhua paid $100 to air an ad that was displayed to 200,000 people before it was removed. In another, CGTN paid $400 for an ad that targeted India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It was viewed over a million times in four days before being removed, research found. 

Analysis by DataReportal uncovered Facebook is a bustling hub for Beijing’s community organization and social influencing schemes. 

Four of the regime’s propaganda outlets, CGTN, People’s Daily, China Daily, and Xinhua sit in the top 20 largest Facebook pages in existence. India is the platform’s largest advertising audience, eclipsing the United States by a nearly 2:1 ratio, while the most active city on Facebook in the world is Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Meanwhile, a member of the independent Facebook Oversight Board, which recently upheld the platform’s ban on Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, also has a connection to the Communist Party’s United Front

Thorning-Schmidt gave a speech in 2017 at the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) in Beijing, where her charity, Save the Children, was praised by the CCP for “working together with related government and institutions for years, to bring the most advanced medical technologies to China.”

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.

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