Journalist Ezra Klein – who’s been exposed by the National Pulse for accepting trips from Chinese Communist Party-linked groups in exchange for “favorable coverage” of the regime – asserted it “is not even the worst thing” for China to use TikTok to make Americans “like China more.”
The Vox co-founder and New York Times columnist made the remarks while speaking on his personal podcast about TikTok, an app whose founder pledged to use the platform to promote “socialist core values” and devotion to the Chinese Communist Party.
They follow The National Pulse exposing Klein for taking a trip from the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), which is part of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department. This effort aims to “co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority” of the Chinese government according to the U.S. government.
Klein visited China in 2010 as part of the program which seeks to garner “favorable coverage” and to “disseminate positive messages” in Western media outlets, according to Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings with the Department of Justice.
Beyond praising TikTok, Klein asserts it’s “not even the worst thing” if the app is used to make Americans like China more on his show’s June 4th episode:
“Now, you imagine — I mean, China is making tremendous, tremendous investments in AI. Now, you imagine that some of those actually pay off. You build some of that into TikTok. And just on the margin, they’re trying to make you like China more, which maybe is not even the worst thing. We’ve had propaganda efforts in this country forever trying to make people like America more. Why not use your algorithm on your free video app to serve up things that improve cross-cultural communication?”
Klein also praises TikTok as “remarkable” and “amazing”:
So we’ve been in a debate over the past year or two in this country over TikTok, which is this remarkable social networking app that is owned by a Chinese company, ByteDance. And there’s been a lot of worries that maybe TikTok is spyware or what is it really doing.
But something very central about TikTok is its underlying algorithm is amazing. If you look at analysis of why TikTok does so well, its ability to intuit what you like through machine learning and feed it to you, it’s absolutely best of class. It needs a lot less information about you than a Facebook or some of these other players do.