Over my decades as a writer, I’ve seen the two faces of the media.
This past April, an editor from The Epoch Times (ET) sent me an email telling me she had enjoyed my articles on Intellectual Takeout and wondered if I might talk to her about writing for ET. When we spoke by phone, her first question was: “Have you ever heard of The Epoch Times?” “Never,” I told her. My ignorance didn’t seem to faze her, and by the end of the conversation I had agreed to write for the Family and Tradition, now Life and Tradition, section of ET. Within another week or two, another editor hired me to write for the Arts and Tradition pages.
Neither of these women asked me what religion I practiced, what party I voted for, or for my views on race, communism, and other subjects. They wanted me because they liked what I was writing and how I wrote it.
As I began sending them articles, I looked over ET’s website, which contains an abundance of news stories and feature articles, many of them having to do with Chinese history and culture. This emphasis made sense, as a team of anti-communist Chinese first established the paper and the online site. The news articles struck me as balanced in their reporting, much like The Smoky Mountain News, a newspaper that has published my book reviews for over twenty years. In both outlets, the news was the news, and the editorializing was kept separate.
I also investigated Falun Gong, a loose-knit spiritual movement founded in China in early 1990. This group advocates some physical and breathing exercises, and proclaims the virtues of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, principles that guide the philosophy of ET. Most countries would be happy to have citizens committed to such beliefs, but The Communist Party of China (CPC) attacked Falun Gong as a cult, describing it as “a heretical movement,” an odd label given that heretical implies a turning away from religious dogma. As I dug deeper, I discovered that the CPC had persecuted practitioners of Falun Gong, imprisoning hundreds of thousands of them, killing and torturing some, and even harvesting their organs for sale.
On August 21, a friend of mine, John, who enjoys my columns, pointed me toward an MSNBC “expose” of ET and Falun Gong he had witnessed on a television at his local gym. I watched this report on my laptop. I then looked at another report about ET and Falun Gong from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Based on what I found in these reports, I have reached some conclusions.
The reporters have their knives out for ET because of its support for the President. If you go the MSNBC site, you’ll find it nearly impossible to find any positive reporting on President Trump. Studies have shown that 92 percent of the coverage given the president by broadcast news media is negative.
Next, ET leans conservative in its reporting. One of its bywords is tradition. As it has grown in the number of people it reaches, ET was bound to come under attack by the PC media, especially when they see a news outlet whose audience is expanding while their own is shrinking.
During this report, no one mentioned that the parent company of NBC, NBCUniversal, is involved in a multi-billion dollar project in Communist China. That’s a little odd, isn’t it?
Worst of all, nowhere in this report was any mention made of the ongoing murderous persecution by the CPC. Not a word about the Chinese internment camps, about the well-documented torture, killing, and organ harvesting. Not one lousy word. And in their brief descriptions of Falun Gong spirituality the reporters become incoherent.
This biased reporting raises some questions we might ask MSNBC. Why did you not report both sides of the story? Given the CPC’s unrelenting assault on Falun Gong and its discredited denials about organ harvesting, why did you fail to leave out these atrocities? How much of your information about ET and Falun Gong came from CPC sources? Given your enterprises in China, what exactly are your ties to Beijing? Have you become a mouthpiece for the CPC?
Here’s some advice: Quit trying to silence those with whom you disagree, deliver some straight up facts and information, and maybe you’ll win back some of the trust Americans once felt toward their media.
[Image Credit: Flickr-Tony Webster CC BY 2.0]