If you’ve spent any time on message boards or social media, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of people arguing this or that and then posting links to back up their claims.
One link you probably see pretty often is from Forbes. The once trusted business news source still has value in its name, and most people still feel it’s a reputable news source.
But what most people don’t know is that Forbes is a majority owned Chinese company.
Forbes was sold via majority stake to the investment group Integrated Whale Media, which is a Hong Kong based investment firm essentially run by Chinese interests.
Details are hard to come by about Integrated Whale Media, however their influence over content is not hard to miss at all.
The Washington Post noted how once Integrated Whale Media took over Forbes, there was a sudden change in tone regarding how the news outlet covered China. Not only did the tone change, writers who were previously hawkish on China were outright fired, and their previous articles deleted forever.
Columnist Isaac Stone Fish noted the following in his Washington Post column.
“On Oct. 9, longtime China commentator and Communist Party critic Gordon Chang received an email from Avik S.A. Roy, the opinion editor at Forbes. “Due to a wide-ranging reorganization of Forbes’ content,” Roy wrote, “we are going to be concluding our official relationship with you.” Roy added, “As a result of the organization, the articles you’ve written for us will no longer be stored on the Forbes server nor appear at Forbes.com,” according to the email Chang forwarded to me at my request.”
But that wasn’t the only instance. Forbes also started contacting editors to tell them their writings that were critical of China or Xi Jinping were “problematic”, which was essentially a threat to tell them to tone down their reporting on China.
Also from The Washington Post:
“Consider also what happened to Forbes in February 2016, after then-contributor Anders Corr wrote an article comparing China to North Korea. Corr provided me with an email that he says came from a Forbes editor. “Your last post has some language the editors here feel is problematic,” the editor wrote, adding that it was “not accurate to say China impoverishes its people or to label Xi Jinping a dictator.” Whether China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi deserves the description “dictator” is debatable — though some prominent international affairs commentators think it’s an accurate description.”
As with so many things before the pandemic, it seems China and the CCP set out to acquire a controlling stake in platforms and news outlets around the world, allowing them to slowly control the narrative on many subjects.
This goes beyond just the news, as Chinese-connected firms have also taken stakes in discussion sites like Reddit and even video game publishers, who then in turn limit any anti-Chinese content within video games.
So the next time you see a post or a link from Forbes, make sure to take a moment to remember who runs it now. It’s no longer the “Forbes” people remember from the old day. It’s majority Chinese-owned now, and it’s a propaganda tool more than anything else.
Note: We’ve started publishing articles on Substack shortly after they appear here. It’s free and we’re doing it since some readers enjoy visiting and subscribing to their favorite content on Substack. If you’re interested, you can click here to visit and subscribe. Thanks!