Right Wing Media Ecosystem:
The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times has become a major player in the rightwing media world. It has both a print and a digital presence. It also has multiple ties to anti-democratic and rightwing groups.
The Media and Democracy Project team, Sept 14, 2022
The Epoch Times has become a significant pro-MAGA Republican media outlet. In 2019 alone it is estimated the Epoch Times spent $11M on Facebook ads.
This page summarizes some of the ties between Epoch Times and other players in the rightwing universe. We include links to some key investigative pieces done by various media organizations over the past few years. If you have other information to add, please email us, info-at-mediaanddemocracyproject.org.
Bannon ties The Epoch Times has ties to Steve Bannon and rightwing donors: "A branch of the Epoch Media Group received over $900,000 from one of [rightwing billionaire] Robert Mercer's longtime employees" [Daily Beast, 2020]. Epoch Times-related organizations co-produced a Bannon documentary, and Bannon has hosted several Epoch Times personalities on his show.
Unclear funding It is unclear how much Epoch Times money comes from donors and how much from other sources, including Falun Gong, the rightwing religious cult that produces the Epoch Times. The Epoch Times has used low-paid Falun Gong members to produce their content. (This piece from an Australian ex-Epoch Times writer/Falun Gong member is worth a read.)
Rightwing religious group Falun Gong Falun Gong is a rightwing religious organization which has a compound in upstate New York and whose spiritual leader is known to disciples as "Master" Li. Falun Gong is opposed to the Chinese Communist party, and it is unclear whether this opposition, or religion, or both, has led them to make common cause with MAGA Republicans.
Recent investigations on the Epoch Times Other articles include this 2020 NiemanLab piece from Joshua Benton which summarizes several published investigations of The Epoch Times, including from NBC's Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny. Also, Australia's ABC did an investigation into Falun Gong and the Epoch Times in 2020 (podcast and article).
Connections to Claremont and Michael Pack Falun Gong's media operation, including the Epoch Times, has ties to Michael Pack, the Bannon-related rightwing media producer and former CEO of the key MAGA Claremont Institute. Pack also under Trump ran USAGM, the US agency that produces Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. Pack tried to turn this decent-sized agency (USAGM FY22 budget $0.8+B) into pro-MAGA propaganda ("ordered [them] to publish pro-Trump ... editorials"). President Biden asked Pack to resign and he did on Jan 20 2021.
Reports of mass mailings of the Epoch Times The Epoch Times is reportedly mailing copies across the country to households, including to households in political battleground regions.