According to a recent report, several senior employees within the New York Times were previously employed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)–owned English-language newspaper, China Daily. Over the past several years, China Daily has made a significant effort to publish its CCP–controlled news stories in U.S. newspapers.
Current New York Times employees who previously worked for the Chinese state-owned media outlet include; Jonah Kessel, the Times’ director of cinematography; Diarmuid McDermott, current editor and designer; and European culture reporter Alex Marshall, The National Pulse reported.
According to the report, Jonah Kessel, the current Director of Cinematography for The New York Times, served as Creative Director of China Daily from July 2009 until November 2010, when he left his job as a China-based photographer and cinematographer. Their clients included the Ministry of Information of the People’s Republic of China.
In now-deleted Twitter posts, Kessel wrote that working for the CCP sometimes has its “benefits.” He also mentioned that he was “excited” to start the role, which included “redesigning” the CCP’s propaganda arm. He also explicitly clarified that he was getting paid by the CCP.
“You know you work for the PRC [The People’s Republic of China] when the first word that comes to your mind when asked to describe your workplace is ‘harmonious’ #china,” Kessel wrote in a Twitter post in Nov. 2009.
Even after he stopped working for China Daily, Kessel admitted that he still “works for the Communist Party of China” while serving as Creative Director of his cinematography business.
According to his own LinkedIn profile and website, Diarmuid McDermott, a Times design editor, served at China Daily fulfilling the same roles as he does today.
From 2012 to 2020, he worked at the state-owned media outlet’s “Asia Weekly” publication, a role he describes on his resume as: “Copy editing; Rewriting raw copy; Layout and graphics design; News and image research; Developing and maintaining a web presence on multiple platforms; Page output for printers across the region.” According to The National Pulse, on its website, McDermott also promotes his work for China Daily.
Another New York Times reporter, Alex Marshall, was hired by China Daily as an editor from 2003 to 2004. He currently reports culture news for the Times, described himself as a “China apologist,” and often praised Xi Jinping’s speeches on Twitter.
Like many other reputable hegemonic media outlets, the Times has sought greater access to the Chinese market and has reportedly received millions in advertising revenue from CCP media entities.
U.S. Department of Justice records showed that China Daily paid nearly $19 million to U.S. media companies for advertising and printing expenses over the past four years, including the New York Times.