Table of Contents
- Aug. 2020 Blind Bias Survey and Editorial Review
- The Epoch Times Reporting Absent Many Types of Bias
- The Epoch Times Displays Right-Wing Story Choice
- Anti-Chinese Communist Party Bias
- Past Media Bias Ratings for The Epoch Times and Community Feedback
- Aug. 2019 Editorial Review
- The Epoch Times' Proclamations of Anti-Communist Bias
- About The Epoch Times
Aug. 2020 Blind Bias Survey
On average, people from across the political spectrum rated the bias of The Epoch Times as between Center and Lean Right in our Aug. 2020 blind bias survey. Pluralities across all groups of survey respondents — conservatives, centrists and liberals alike — rated The Epoch Times as Center. On average, people who self-reported a Center or Lean Right bias rated The Epoch Times as Center, while people who rated their own bias as Lean Left, Left, or Right on average found it to be just between Lean Right and Center.
This discrepancy of rating from the survey results (Center-Lean Right) and the AllSides Media Bias Rating of The Epoch Times at the time (Right) prompted the team to conduct a full Editorial Review, which ultimately resulted in us moving The Epoch Times from a Right to a Lean Right bias rating in Aug. 2020.
Aug. 2020 Epoch Times Editorial Review
The Editorial Review of The Epoch Times took place on August 27, 2020 as the result of seeing the data from the Aug. 2020 blind bias survey. AllSides concluded The Epoch Times’s Media Bias Rating is Lean Right.
An editorial review is when the AllSides team, which includes an equal number of people from the Left, Center and Right of the political spectrum, reviews the works of a source and comes to a general consensus on its bias. For the most part, the AllSides team, which includes people across the political spectrum, concluded that the Epoch Times has a Lean Right bias, mostly revealed via story choice. AllSides looked at The Epoch Times’ content over six months and looked for the 11 Types of Media Bias in order to determine The Epoch Times’ bias rating.
The Epoch Times Reporting Absent Many Types of Bias
The Epoch Times did several things right in its reporting. Multiple AllSides team members noted that the publication did a good job of citing multiple sources across the political spectrum and of using full quotes in its reporting — not snippets or phrases taken out of context. The publication did not display common types of media bias such as spin, sensationalism, opinion presented as fact, unsubstantiated claims, flawed logic, or omission of source attribution.
In today’s increasingly polarized media landscape, it was good to see Times journalists presenting full quotes from both sides of the aisle in order to present a fair and balanced story. One team member noted the Times always used the word “said” or “told reporters,” and avoided common spin words and phrases such as, “admitted,” “tirade,” “refused to say,” “conceded,” or “bragged.”
Much of The Epoch Times’ reporting is rather balanced; its right-wing bias was mostly displayed via story choice.
The Epoch Times Displays Right-Wing Story Choice
Members of the AllSides team from the Center, Left and Right found that The Epoch Times had a slight conservative lean in their story choice. The publication typically covered stories generally of interest to people on the right and showed conservatives in a positive light, and covered stories that show the left in a more negative light.
The Epoch Times is somewhat transparent about their values and bias: their tagline is “truth and tradition,” and traditional ideals are typically associated with conservatives.
Anti-Chinese Communist Party Bias
The Epoch Times also had a clear anti-Chinese Communist Party and anti-communist bias. The Epoch Times labels the coronavirus as the “CCP virus,” or “Chinese Communist Party virus,” and in March 2020 its editorial board wrote an op-ed explaining the decision and urging other publications to join them. The Epoch Times said it chose this name to “distinguish the victims from the victimizer. The people of Wuhan and of China are the victims of the CCP’s arrogance and incompetence, expressed in this viral pandemic.”
The editorial board continued:
“The name CCP virus also sounds a warning: Those nations and individuals close to the CCP are the ones suffering the worst effects from this virus, as is seen in the raging infections in the CCP’s close ally Iran and in Italy, the only G-7 nation to sign onto the Belt and Road Initiative. Taiwan and Hong Kong, which have rejected the CCP—Taiwan in a recent landslide national election and Hong Kong in months of massive demonstrations—have had relatively few infections.
Finally, the CCP virus reminds the people of the world that the source of the virus is itself evil. This is a communist virus, and with the name CCP virus, The Epoch Times reminds the world of the cure: ending the CCP.”
Most newsrooms have consistently referred to the virus as COVID-19 or coronavirus. The Epoch Times’ break from this in favor of “CCP virus”shows a clear focus on and critique of Chinese communism, as well as countries with close ties to the nation, which amounts to a viewpoint and a bias.
Some AllSides team members noted that being critical of China is not necessarily a liberal or conservative position — people on either side may be critical of China. However, it can also be arguedthat an anti-Chinese communist bias is becoming a view typically associated with conservatives or traditionalists.
While the website covers news from all across the world, AllSides team members noticed a clear focus on China, with “China” being a subsection on The Times’ homepage. One team member on the Left noted seeing advertisements for a documentary about how the Chinese Communist Party censored Coronavirus coverage, as well as a petition on The Epoch Times’ homepage to reject the communist party.
It’s worth noting the anti-Chinese Communist Party bias is linked to The Epoch Times’ history. The publication was founded in 2000 by John Tang, who was affiliated with the Falun Gong religious movement, which has been heavily persecuted in China. Tang founded the website as a response to the persecution of the religious group within mainland China.
In sum: The Epoch Times bias leaned to the right as of Aug. 2020, yet was absent many types of media bias.
Past Media Bias Ratings of The Epoch Times and Community Feedback
In July 2019, AllSides gave an initial bias rating for The Epoch Times as Lean Right, following an independent review by an AllSides staffer. Following an editorial review in Aug. 2019, AllSides rated The Epoch Times as Right. As of early August 2020, 1,482 AllSides community members who voted in disagreement with our Right rating on average indicated they saw The Epoch Times as Lean Right.
August 2019 Editorial Review
On August 28, 2019, AllSides conducted an editorial review of The Epoch Times. An editorial review is when the AllSides editorial staff — which includes people from across the political spectrum — reviews the works of a source and comes to a general consensus on its bias. These reviews always include a diversity of individuals covering the range of bias from left to right. The team determined The Epoch Times had a Right media bias.
The AllSides team found The Epoch Times was clearly critical of left-wing ideas and policies such as open borders, the sexual revolution, abortion, and multiculturalism on its news and opinion pages. It wrote favorably about freedom of speech, gun rights, immigration control, and other topics. It was openly critical of the Chinese Communist Party.
During the Aug. 2019 editorial review, The AllSides team found The Epoch Times did not employ much spin, another type of media bias, as evidenced by the paper providing full coverage of Democratic policies and proposals and quoting left-wingers in full in its reporting. For example, an article about 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke's comments on abortion included the politician's comments in full, not phrases or short snippets. Likewise, AllSides noted that The Epoch Times often quoted President Trump in full and with accuracy, devoting multiple paragraphs to feature his comments in their entirety. This was in stark contrast to many U.S. media outlets, which quoted only small portions or phrases of politicians' comments, in order to spin the story, often in a misleading way.
AllSides found The Epoch Times sometimes framed stories with right-wing viewpoints — for example, in an article detailing the Southern Poverty Law Center's lawsuit over immigrant detentions, The Epoch Times led the story with a few paragraphs highlighting right-wing criticisms of the SPLC, without attributing the criticisms to a specific group or individual (omission of source attribution).
The Epoch Times' Proclamations of Anti-Communist Bias
Just before the Nov. 2020 presidential election, The Epoch Times Editorial Board published a piece stating that the publication would continue its tradition of not endorsing any political candidate, and that it stands strongly against communism and in favor of a "traditional culture [that] helps humanity to flourish." ET wrote in part:
"We believe that traditional culture helps humanity to flourish. The beginning of the Declaration of Independence famously says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights."
When we understand ourselves as created by God, we have in our common origin a basis for unity and fellow feeling. Compassion flows naturally to those who share the same origins. Within a divine creation are implicit standards for how we should treat one another, and these guide and shape our societies. In the case of the Declaration, these are “unalienable rights,” which guarantee individuals’ rights to life and liberty.
When we seek to understand ourselves in light of the divine, we necessarily look upward, measuring ourselves by the highest standards. We experience both humility and gratitude, and the aspiration to live up to our beginnings.
Recently, the concept of socialism has become increasingly popular in the United States. Socialism is the initial stage of communism. As Vladimir Lenin stated, “The goal of socialism is communism.”
Communism is antithetical to traditional culture; it degrades and divides humanity. For every country in the world that has followed its path, despair has followed.
The most prominent communist party in the world today is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
It teaches atheism, materialism, and a philosophy of struggle. While traditional culture uplifts humanity by pointing toward God, communism denies divinity. Instead, it reduces human beings to their atoms, providing no basis for unity or morality."
In July 2019, The Epoch Times' About page explicitly stated it had an anti-communist bias and stood for traditional values and awareness of virtues.
"We stand against the systematic destruction of traditional culture by destructive ideologies such as communism, which continues to harm societies around the world," it read. "We are inspired in this mission by our own experience. The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 to bring honest and uncensored news to people oppressed by the lies and violence of communism. Fulfilling this mission is our passion and our greatest honor."
"Having witnessed events like Tiananmen Square and the persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong, and at a great risk to themselves and their loved ones, a group of Chinese-Americans started publishing The Epoch Times in Chinese in May 2000 in New York City," its website read. "Some reporters in China were jailed, and some suffered severe torture. Yet despite the risks, they could see the growing need for uncensored coverage of events in China."
As of Aug. 2020, the Epoch Times' About page no longer included this specific language, instead reading in part, "The Epoch Times was founded in the United States in the year 2000 in response to communist repression and censorship in China. Our founders, Chinese-Americans who themselves had fled communism, sought to create an independent media to bring the world uncensored and truthful information."
About The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times, published by The Epoch Times Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. On its website, it says it is "dedicated to seeking the truth through insightful and independent journalism."
According to The Epoch Times, it is the largest Chinese-language newspaper outside of Mainland China and Taiwan. The English edition of The Epoch Times launched in September 2003 on the web, and in August 2004 as a newspaper in New York.