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Tipsheet

Why Did Biden's ATF Nominee Go on Chinese Communist TV...And Why Didn't He Disclose That?

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Joe Biden’s nominee to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had another round of bad press when it was discovered that he didn’t disclose his media hit with Chinese communist television. The state media apparatus, which is viewed as a propaganda arm of Beijing and had to register as a foreign agent in 2019, invited David Chipman into their spin machine to discuss the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Chipman seemed to play the part of the good soldier and go along with the propaganda (via Fox News):

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President Biden's nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) failed to disclose to the Senate a media appearance on Chinese state TV, which may have been used as propaganda by the communist state to cover up a mass stabbing of children. 

Biden's ATF nominee David Chipman appeared on a Chinese state-run media network, China Global Television Network (CGTN), previously known as CCTN, in December 2012 to discuss the government's response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, one of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history that killed 28 people and injured two.

CGTN, which reaches 30 million households within the U.S., "is an arm of China’s propaganda machine. It is controlled by the Communist Party and serves as part of what Mr. Xi has called Beijing’s ‘publicity front.’" as described by the New York Times. In 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) required CGTN to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.

[…]

Chipman did not disclose his 2012 appearance on CGTN in written responses to the Senate's questions for the record.

However, he listed at least 16 pages of previous interviews and quotes he provided to media, including at least two events and interviews in which he spoke about the Newtown Massacre. None of the information listed included the CGTN media appearance.

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A letter from Senate Judiciary Republicans cited this media hit as another reason why there should be a second hearing on Chipman:

The fact is that new information about Mr. Chipman’s unfitness for office seems to come out daily. Just today we learned from news reports—not Mr. Chipman—that he had appeared in 2012 on Chinese state television to discuss the Sandy Hook massacre. The spectacle of Mr. Chipman discussing gun-violence in America while being asked about our gun laws by an organ that—even YouTube notes—is a propaganda machine, funded by the Chinese government, is beyond comprehension. He doesn’t appear to dispute this obvious propaganda by the China Global Television Network, designed to malign the United States…

In fact, he seems to agree with it when asked. Politics is supposed to stop at the water’s edge. It’s shocking that Mr. Chipman’s gun-control agenda not only didn’t, but it eagerly found a willing host among the Chinese communists. We ask again that Mr. Chipman have a second hearing to address these allegations. This Committee, under your leadership, shouldn’t sweep marginalized voices under the rug, nor take corroborated allegations of racism lightly. 

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Yes, the racism allegations were what set off this renewed push to yank Chipman back onto the Hill for more questioning. There have been disturbing accounts of racist remarks made by Chipman about black ATF agents who were up for promotion. He reportedly insinuated that these black ATF agents had cheated to get on the list. You can certainly play the ‘if this were a Republican game.’ Racism, questions about whether he can do the job, rank-and-file not so much sold on him, and now being a mouthpiece for Chinese propaganda. Not good. 

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