Tech reporter and Los Angeles Occasions go to bat for TikTok

Testifying earlier than
on Thursday,
CEO Shou Zi Chew managed one thing we not often see on Capitol Hill lately. Specifically, an nearly unanimous, united entrance in opposition to his firm. Each Democrats and Republicans spent most of Thursday hammering away at Chew. A uncommon voice of assist got here from Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who gathered with a number of protesters to declare any doable ban on TikTok “racist”. Oh, and since Republicans “had no swag.”

Not so within the committee room. Responding to questions on privateness, safety, knowledge leakage, Chinese language Communist Occasion entry to knowledge, and associated surveillance capabilities, Chew had no good solutions. It was thus left to journalists and numerous media shops to go to bat for Chew.

Washington Publish expertise reporter Drew Harwell was essentially the most outspoken on behalf of TikTok. It is an app that the Washington Publish makes use of to churn out intelligent content material for youngsters, using a complete crew of journalists to create brief movies. “TikTok may downplay its possession by a China-based firm as a result of members of Congress preserve saying it is a secret Chinese language spying machine owned by the Chinese language Communist Occasion with zero proof,”
Harwell tweeted
. His lurch into opinion journalism apart, the reporter is seemingly unaware that there isn’t any such factor in China as an organization that isn’t in the end subordinate to the Communist Occasion. By the way, Harwell additionally bragged about eating with Chew personally for a profile. I’m inquisitive about who picked up the verify for that lunch.

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The Los Angeles Occasions editorial board additionally got here to TikTok’s rescue, writing that “Congress is scapegoating TikTok. It is no worse than different social media platforms.”

Besides … that it’s completely different. Very completely different. TikTok and the corporate’s guardian firm, ByteDance, are required by Chinese language regulation to do regardless of the Communist Occasion calls for of them, which begs slight concern in view of TikTok’s huge knowledge hoovering functionality and the Communist Occasion’s hostility towards U.S. pursuits. This isn’t a hypothetical concern. When Forbes printed a latest blockbuster report on TikTok’s surveillance capabilities, it additionally famous that two of its journalists had their private knowledge breached and their private actions
tracked by the app

However for some within the media, it appears, there’s simply an excessive amount of cash to be made through TikTok. Too many eyeballs are glued to the app that media shops are determined to achieve. That’s the reason we see this tolerance for Communist Occasion affect: It is motivated by self-interest. The issue for Bowman and people dwindling numbers of Democrats nonetheless defending TikTok? They’re endangering the nationwide curiosity.

Of all individuals, nevertheless, journalists must be most skeptical of TikTok’s social engineering.


Stephen L. Miller (
) has written for 
Nationwide Evaluate, the New York Publish, and Fox News and hosts the Versus Media podcast.

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