The Epoch Times is seen in Bushwick. Photo: The BK Reader
By: Jessy Edwards and Tramane Harris

If you’ve noticed a copy of The Epoch Times on your stoop in the last few weeks, you’re not alone.

Dozens of Brooklyn residents across Brownsville, Crown Heights, East New York and Bushwick have received unsolicited copies of the right-wing newspaper and are asking–why now?

“In all my years in Bed-Stuy, I never once saw it. Last weekend there was a copy on my stoop,” Cypress Hills resident Ro Johnson said. Many in Bed-Stuy are now reporting getting the paper, too.

The Epoch Times ‘special report’. Photo: Jessy Edwards for the BK Reader.

The mysterious mass-mail drop has some Brooklyn residents wondering if the upcoming election is involved, with some saying they’ve seen the conservative paper before, but not in such quantity. 

“First time I’ve ever seen them delivered via direct mail like a drugstore circular,” one Bed-Stuy resident said on Facebook. “Definitely seems like a new tactic, and I don’t think their distribution to gentrifying Black neighborhoods is a mere coincidence.”

Pro-Trump, anti-communism

The Epoch Times is a New York-based publication with strong ties to the persecuted Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong. Its editorial policy is fiercely opposed to the Chinese Communist Party, and it’s known for its right-wing content.

In February, the New York Times called it “one of the most mysterious fixtures of the pro-Trump media universe,” and the publication was recently accused of getting special treatment at the president’s press briefings. 

Last year, NBC News published an investigation revealing the publication spent more than $1.5 million on pro-Trump ads on Facebook in 2019, second only to the Trump campaign itself. However not much is known about The Epoch Times’ finances and organizational structure.

Now, copies of the publication’s “special report” on China are appearing at homes all over Brooklyn and beyond.

An image of the newspaper on Twitter got more than 1,000 likes. Photo: Amanda Yee / Twitter

In Bushwick, Amanda Yee noticed three copies of The Epoch Times on her neighbor’s doorstep. She took pictures of the paper and posted it to Twitter, where dozens of people from Brooklyn, Queens, and even further afield in California and Canada commented they, too, had received it. 

“I posted it because there’s a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment right now,” Yee told the BK Reader. “A lot of it is driven by The Epoch Times, which is affiliated with the Falun Gong.”

Targeting voters?

While he wasn’t in a position to independently verify whether The Epoch Times was increasing distribution to certain neighborhoods–or traditionally Black neighborhoods–ahead of the election, it wouldn’t be surprising, A.J. Bauer, a visiting professor of media, culture and communication at New York University, said.

“This would fit within a broader GOP strategy to cut into Biden’s presumably high margins of support within the Black community,” he said, pointing to the Republican National Convention’s focus last week on Trump’s “supposed” record of racial uplift. 

Brooklyn residents noticed the paper all over the borough. Photo: The BK Reader.

It was unclear whether the influx into Brooklyn amounts to an increase in real circulation, or whether the paper was just shifting its distribution patterns nationally, he said. The Epoch Times did not respond to BK Reader questions on distribution directed to its editor, newsroom and media team. Journalists in Australia have also reported a large newspaper drop campaign in Brisbane recently. 

However, Bauer said the apparent distribution push raises questions over whether the paper is working in active coordination with the Trump campaign, or just providing independent material support to Trump. He added there were curious parallels between the distribution strategy and the GOP’s recent attempts to weaken Biden’s support among Black voters.

According to its website, The Epoch Times’s “mission is to bring you a truthful view of the world free from the influence of any government, corporation, or political party.”

However, in August 2019, Facebook barred the newspaper from taking out more ads, saying it evaded its advertising transparency rules. In turn, the publication moved its spending to YouTube.

The Epoch Times denies its Facebook ads were intended to be political.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Make a Donation

BK Reader is brought to you for free daily. Please consider supporting independent local news by making a donation here. Whether it is $1 or $100, no donation is too big or too small!

Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is a freelance writer based in Bushwick. Originally from New Zealand, she has written for the BBC, Rolling Stone, NBC New York, CNBC and her hometown newspaper, The Dominion Post, among others.

Join the Conversation

17

  1. To be fair, this article should note that one of the primary people “raising questions,” Amanda Yee, is an avowed communist who reflexively defends the Chinese Communist Party no matter what it does. Her quote that tries to connect “anti-Chinese sentiment” in the US to Falun Gong is disgraceful. The Chinese government is guilty of horrific human rights violations against peaceful minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners. There is plenty of good reason to denounce the CCP (i.e., the government, not the Chinese people). The authors of this article should have examined their sources more carefully and written a more objective article, instead of playing along with an apparent CCP propaganda effort.

    1. Best news paper that gives accurate & unbiased news. Their coverage of China & world news is the best coverage you will get on how China treats it’s people & plans to over take the South Pacific Area. They also show how China has gain their information from major countries & Corporation by infiltrating their businesses and Goverment, including our Educational System.

    2. The Falun Gong is a predatory cult that preaches that homosexuals and mixed-race children will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven.

      Regardless of who it is criticizing them, you don’t want their trashy tabloid on your doorstep. If you defend them, you are either uninformed, or a possibly a believer yourself. The tone of your comment suggests you might be a cult practitioner, which puts your credibility at 0.

      1. Your bigoted comments regarding Falun Gong teachings are false. Falun Gong teachings (falundafa.org) include conservative sexual ethics (similar to most world religions), but do not say gay people are precluded from heaven. Tolerance is one of Falun Gong’s primary principles. Your comment regarding mixed-race children is directly contrary to Falun Gong teachings, which say the opposite. I don’t know what drives your vitriolic antipathy towards a peaceful spiritual practice, but your comment shows that you are the one who is misinformed. You’re right about one thing though: I am a Falun Gong practitioner, and I’m forever grateful for the sense of purpose, improved health, and peace of mind that the practice has given to me.

        1. Look at you on your moral high horse. Your country has displaced 59 million Muslims in the Middle East and has killed millions more in perpetual wars based on lies. Go take your fake concern over human rights and shove it up your you-know-where.

  2. Seeing as the Falun Gong was already being funded by the CIA, Trump must have realized that he can just increase their funding by a huge amount, in effect using taxpayer money to fund a propaganda outlet dedicated to promoting himself. Hence the recent increase in spamming by Epoch Times.

    Looks like the Falun Gong have sent their army of internet trolls on the attack. Just look at this comment board.

  3. Isn’t the NBC report and the NY Times report sort of like the pot calling the kettle black. I mean they are both pro-liberal/democrat publications. So you using them as a reference indicates that you and your publication are also liberal left.

  4. The Epoch Times is the best newspaper I’ve read in decades. Yes, decades. It’s a pleasure to simply sit and read a paper that is not blatantly biased nor controlled by a huge media empire whose printed words are predictable. My community paper was taken over by such an empire and I want nothing to do with it.
    The Epoch Times covers a variety of topics, including art, health, parenting, prison reform, and more.. I’ve found the reporting to be quite fair, trust worthy, and very inclusive of a diversity of voices.. Many of the writers are excellent, insightful. I had given up on newspapers and am delighted with the Epoch Times.

  5. the epoch times atleast does the job of journalism fairly not like the swamp scum cnn,msn,cbs, which are owned by left wing deceitful ,traitors that will destroy a country because of fraud, but we will take it back and you bastards will pay one way or the other

  6. STOP SENDING YOUR GARBAGE PROPAGANDIST PAPER TO OUR AMERICAN HOMES!!!
    WE BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST …NOT YOUR PHONY RELIGION! YOUR PAPER IS ABSOLUTELY NOT WHAT JESUS CHRIST TAUGHT US !!! YOUR PAPER SPREADS HATE, PROPAGANDA TO DIVIDE PEOPLE… OR LORD TAUGHT I’D TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS… AND THAT INCLUDES IMMIGRANTS… IT SAYS SO IN THE BIBLE. But then again, if you read the Bible you would know that! I’m sorry

  7. In Germany, when Hindenburg was president, he made the mistake and appointed Hitler as Chancellor and that’s when it changed the world for the worst! There are so many similarities between Hitler, Goebbels & drumpf/tRUMP you’ve got to be ignorant not to see it.Hitler was believed to be a clown and a sociopath,..DRUMPF/tRUMP IS believed to be a clown and a sociopath! Both are considered racist and psychopaths. Both thrived/thrive on propaganda, hatred and racism. Both were insecure and lacked self-esteem and both need to be the center of attention, always!
    AND BOTH HITLER & Goebbels along with DRUMPF/yRUMP ALWAYS LIE to divide the people! They are a part of the radical right, white supremacist and conspiracy theorists whose main goal is to divide the country and destroy democracy in America!

  8. Buster Carb… that was funny
    ???????????? …I USED THAT GARBAGE epoch PAPER FOR THE BOTTOM OF MY GARBAGE BIN????????????
    I believe in Jesus Christ and what HE taught… NOT what’s in the epoch PROPAGANDIST paper!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *