“Channels like the Epoch Times are superspreaders of misinformation, and it’s not clear from their Facebook or YouTube presence where they come from.”Deanna Tran, Viet Fact Check
Due to the internet and social media platforms, newspapers have been laying off staff for decades. Along with the deterioration of reliable, trusted local and regional newspapers, Americans are increasingly confused as to what news is real and what is propaganda. This confusion enables misinformation like the “big lie” that Trump won the election to flourish in a substantial subset of the population.
But not all newspapers have declined. Occasionally, I receive a free hard copy of the Epoch Times newspaper which is expanding despite the fact that it contains no advertising. Per reader testimonials on its pages, it claims to be “unbiased but truthful” and “factual” as opposed to “mainstream media”. The problem is that it is not truthful, unbiased or factual.. but is posing as such.
Epoch Times has local ties. It was started by a Georgia college student, John Tang. Tang was affiliated with the Falun Gong, a large Chinese religious movement which is now banned in China. And the newspaper still has very close ties to that movement, which has been said to control it through financial backing by right-wing Falun Gong practitioners. Apparently, their backing is why there is no normal advertising in the paper. The entire paper is one big advertisement for the right-wing views of Falun Gong.
The July issue has a two page in fold spread explaining how its 100 million followers have been “demonized” and mistreated by the Chinese Communist Party. Knowing that autocratic regime, which I despise, I do not doubt it. However, this situation has obviously biased all of the coverage provided by this newspaper. Epoch Times claims to be neutral but is in reality as far right as you can get.
For example, a 12-page spread about the Constitution that appears in the July issue is totally one-sided and misleading. Its basic premise is that our Constitution as written well over 200 years ago was perfect and needs no modification via amendment or interpretation. We all love our nation, but no country is ideal. All could be improved.
Per Epoch Times, there was no reason to pass the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. In their opinion, states were going to do it anyway, so why bother.
Epoch Times indicates that the Constitution was “racially neutral”, even though it defined black men as having three-fifths of the value of a white man for taxation and representation purposes. The newspaper also explains away the fact that almost half of the Founding Fathers were slave holders, saying that due to “unity” they were “forced” to refuse to address the slavery issue. No big deal.
California has nearly 40 million residents, whereas Wyoming has less than 600 thousand. Yet, they both get 2 Senators. Thus, the Senate vote of a California resident is worth just 15% of that of a Wyoming resident. How is that democracy? But Epoch Times thinks this is fine because it ensures “fair treatment of all regions.”
Epoch Times declares that “the Founders words were not… vague”, that it’s just “in the minds of the critics”. Per Epoch Times, there is no ambiguity in the Constitution requiring modern interpretation, just use “original intent”, whatever that means.
The Second Amendment is probably the most poorly written item in the Constitution. Further, until conservative activist Justice Antonin Scalia pushed through a brand-new definition of this amendment in 2008, it was thought to only guarantee a state militia’s right to be armed. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry.
But Epoch Times tries to say that the individual right to bear arms has always been clear and needed to avoid “terrorism” by groups like the “Klu Klux Klan.” They even include a picture of a black woman holding a baby while looking at semi-automatic rifles for sale. This assertion turns history upside down.
This newspaper and conservative social media have a lot in common. The truth is that every article in the Epoch Times is completely biased towards extremist right wing views. But the average reader may not realize this fact. And this brainwashing is why we end up with popular support for budding right-wing dictators like Donald Trump who have no use for democracy.
Image Credit: the feature image of the woman at a MAGA rally holding copies of Epoch Times was taken by Elvert Barnes via Wikimedia Commons. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.