The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, in collaboration with the Daily Beast, published an article about Epoch Media Group headlined “The Hedge Fund Man Behind Pro-Trump Media’s New War on China,” written by Eli Clifton.
The article’s entire premise is inaccurate, it contradicts itself, and it contains multiple inaccuracies.
The main claim in Clifton’s article is that an individual donor, Huayi Zhang, “contributed $909,500 to New Tang Dynasty between 2012 and 2016” and that “Zhang also served as chair of the organization’s board in 2004, 2005 and 2007 to 2010. He was listed as a director in 2006.”
As readers can easily see, most of the time when Mr. Zhang was involved with New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD Television) was before Donald Trump even ran for office. To suggest that Mr. Zhang’s support of NTD Television—going back more than 15 years—has anything to do with Mr. Trump is grossly misinformed and ignorant of our founding story and history.
The writer goes to great lengths, using unrelated information and insinuation, to falsely claim that donations by Mr. Zhang were related to his employment at Renaissance Technologies and to the hedge fund’s former CEO, Robert Mercer. Underscoring the weakness of Clifton’s arguments is that he is forced to use words such as “tangential ties” and “no evidence.”
The reality is that Mr. Zhang donated to NTD Television in his personal capacity because he supports the mission of NTD: to report independent and uncensored news on China.
NTD Television, a sister media to The Epoch Times, was founded by Chinese immigrants in 2001 and has a network of sources in China, who provide insider information. It reports independently on China and provides information to help Chinese people abroad and inside China. In recent years, NTD Television has covered important news that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) tried hard to conceal, provided news that’s vital to people’s health, mentally and physically, and has warned the West about the CCP’s infiltration.
Clifton does not like our reporting on the CCP and called it “anti-Beijing.” His article falls in the same line as Beijing’s CCP media narrative—that any criticism of the CCP and its brutal regime is “anti-China” and “anti-Chinese,” and has a political agenda. You can watch the CCP’s state television and read its state-controlled newspapers; this is their daily narrative. Unfortunately, Clifton has very little understanding of the CCP’s propaganda and, knowingly or unknowingly, repeats it.
Clifton made an obvious mistake when he wrote, “Since 2005, the outlet has branded infectious disease outbreaks in China as ‘CCP Virus.’” We started to call the novel coronavirus the “CCP virus” in the middle of March this year, amid debate over how best to refer to the virus. It is due to the CCP’s coverup that the outbreak in Wuhan led to a global pandemic. If Clifton cares more about lives than his own political agenda, he should put his energy into investigating where the virus started and how it spread.
Clifton made another mistake by saying, “Fueling a push for a confrontation with China … most of Epoch Media Group’s work has been devoted to portraying China in the most dangerous and sinister ways possible and the emergence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan played directly into their narrative.” Clifton obviously can not tell the difference between China and the communist regime. We love China, and we love the Chinese people. One of our missions is to restore the Chinese traditional culture, of which we are very proud. Chinese people have been the victims of communist rule for over 70 years. The current confrontation in the world is not about country versus country; it is between the values of communist regimes and the free world.
America is a country that respects freedom of press. This freedom is doubly precious to many of us who work for NTD, since we grew up under a regime that owns all media, censors the internet, blocks social media, and so on. As an independent media, we have the right to cover the president of the United States or any other topic. We stand by our principled reporting.
There is another obvious factual error in Clifton’s article:
“In August 2019, Facebook banned future ad buys from the Epoch Media Group after it spent over $9 million on ads, including approximately 11,000 pro-Trump Facebook advertisements, more than any other organization other than the Trump campaign.”
The $9 million figure has nothing to do with Epoch Media Group. The author links out to a report by Graphika dated December 2019 about a website called The BL, which the report states spent $9 million on Facebook advertising. Facebook’s move to limit The Epoch Times’ ability to advertise in August—four months earlier—had nothing to do with this. In addition, The Epoch Times has no affiliation with The BL, as detailed here in a December statement.
Furthermore, the article is intentionally false in describing The Epoch Times’ Facebook advertising as “pro-Trump”; the advertisements in question were promoting our print newspaper subscriptions. This was clarified in an Aug. 23, 2019, statement.