CNN, New York Times Fail to Ask About China, Hong Kong in Democrat Debate

Hong Kong
Getty Images/Anthony Kwan

Moderators from CNN and the New York Times, the hosts of Tuesday night’s Democrat debate, failed to ask a single question about China or Hong Kong from the twelve presidential hopefuls onstage in the course of three hours.

China has certainly been in the news. Beijing’s repression of Hong Kong continues. Last week, China reached a preliminary trade deal with the U.S. — arguably the most important economic news in weeks. And the NBA finds itself embroiled in controversy over allegedly kowtowing to Chinese repression. And yet the hosts of the debate said nothing and asked nothing about the issue.

China was mentioned — briefly — by a few candidates.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) brought up China in attacking former Vice President Joe Biden’s record on trade. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg claimed (incorrectly) that “In a place like china, the people of Hong Kong rise up for democracy and don’t get a peep of support from the president.” (President Donald Trump told the United Nations last month: “The world fully expects that the Chinese government will honor its binding treaty, made with the British and registered with the United Nations, in which China commits to protect Hong Kong’s freedom, legal system, and democratic ways of life.”)

Sen. Amy Kloubuchar claimed that Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal gave power to China and Russia (though his supporters would say the opposite, since China and Russia back Iran). Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) claimed Trump offered China favorable trade terms in exchange for looking into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country while his father was in office.

But from the moderators: zero.
CNN seems to be ignoring news about the China trade deal. Last week, it all but ignored the news, declining to provide pool coverage of President Trump’s news conference with the Chinese vice premier from the Oval Office.

The moderators mentioned the scandal involving Hunter Biden, but only in context of Ukraine — not China.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.