The New York Times' hit piece on The Epoch Times focused on Epoch's critique of China, and their founding as an outlet that called out China's treatment of the Falun Gong religious movement. They use The Epoch Times opposition to human rights abuses and extensive inquiries into the origin of the coronavirus as a reason to bash them.
The Epoch Times was founded, in large part, to call out the atrocities committed by the CCP against the Falun Gong religious minority, but for The New York Times, this religious group is the subject of scorn, and so is the paper that documents the crimes committed against them.
The New York Times wrote: "[The Epoch Times] is a remarkable success story for Falun Gong, which has long struggled to establish its bona fides against Beijing’s efforts to demonize it as an 'evil cult,' partly because its strident accounts of persecution in China can sometimes be difficult to substantiate or veer into exaggeration." For this statement, The New York Times provides no substantiation.
"Editors at The Epoch Times turned down multiple requests for interviews," The New York Times claimed, "and a reporter’s unannounced visit to the outlet’s Manhattan headquarters this year was met with a threat from a lawyer."
The Post Millennial reached out to Epoch Times' Senior Editor Jan Jekielek to get some clarification on the story.
When asked about the refusal of an interview, Jekielek said "We didn't say we won't communicate with the Times, we said we wouldn't do a phone interview, because we didn't want to do a hostile interview, and we got emailed questions from the reporter, which we responded to."
As regards The New York Times portrayal of Falun Gong, and their use of the movement as a means to discredit The Epoch Times, Jekielek said that "Any of such pieces that come out painting Falun Gong in a negative light, they're used by the CCP, they get translated into Chinese, and then they get used by the CCP to target Falun Gong, to justify the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, as they do the Uighurs and Tibetans."
The New York Times, however, which has recently published in support of China's intentions toward annexation of Hong Kong, does not appear concerned with China's human rights violations against Falun Gong, and portrays the movement as suspect. Regardless of one's feelings on a religion, there can be no condoning of the persecution of its members for their beliefs.
"Today," The New York Times writes, "the group is known for the demonstrations it holds around the world to 'clarify the truth' about the Chinese Communist Party, which it accuses of torturing Falun Gong practitioners and harvesting the organs of those executed."
It doesn't appear that The New York Times dug into these claims at all, despite the fact that, as Jekielek said, "The New York Times has such massive resources at their disposal, and there are so many highly newsworthy things they don't cover."
So what of The New York Times' claims? Jekielek said of Epoch Times' founding that "The Epoch Times was founded to counter Chinese influence operations, with the knowledge that what journalists were doing in the west, with few exceptions, was repeating Chinese Communist Party-approved narratives."
That sounds like what the New York Times is doing to a T.
Of The Epoch Times' reporting on the coronavirus, The New York Times said that it has "promoted the unfounded theory that the coronavirus — which the publication calls the 'CCP Virus,' in an attempt to link it to the Chinese Communist Party — was created as a bioweapon in a Chinese military lab."
With regard to that, Jekielek said that "The film they're referring to isn't trying to take a position, it's trying to report what is known. The film doesn't advocate for the bio weapon theory, but it does suggest that the virus could have come from a lab, and could have been altered, for example, via gain of function research procedures."
The New York Times, as well as other mainstream media outlets, have consistently refused to dig into the origins of the virus. Earlier in the pandemic it was somehow believed to be racist to blame the Chinese government for the virus that they perhaps unwittingly let spread around the world. It is as though editorial outlets just couldn't believe that the CCP would either do this intentionally, intentionally cover it up, or alter a virus for research purposes, as virology labs so often do.
It is this "oh, that couldn't be true," approach that has led mainstream media outlets to ignore and pass over stories that do not conform with their world view. So, too, it appears that is the case with The New York Times reporting on The Epoch Times.
Jekielek said that "The New York Times published a piece that is low on facts and high on bias. It rehashes a whole bunch of inaccurate stuff from an NBC story, that we've responded to repeatedly."
But as with the origins of the coronavirus, or the Steele dossier, or the recent allegations with regard to the Biden family, The New York Times is content to spread their own version of the truth, not because it is researched and well-reasoned, but because it just feels right to them and their editorial board.