Shadowy Firm Uses New York Times to Spread Disinformation About Epoch Times

Shadowy Firm Uses New York Times to Spread Disinformation About Epoch Times
The New York Times building in New York City on June 30, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
The Epoch Times

The New York Times on March 9, 2021, published an article containing incorrect information about The Epoch Times prepared by a shadowy firm.

The article, authored by Davey Alba, centers around the inaccurate claim that The Epoch Times is connected to “more than a dozen sites.” The New York Times makes this false claim without providing any evidence nor stating which websites it’s referring to.

This is likely because the claim is not a result of The New York Times’ own reporting, but rather based on information that the newspaper was handed by a third party.

While the initial version of Alba’s article did not reveal the source of the false information, The New York Times disclosed the identity of the entity in a correction statement.

In its correction, The New York Times states that the actual “source of the data” is “Advance Democracy.” (The newspaper has since also updated its article.)

The NYT describes Advance Democracy innocuously as “a research group” but fails to disclose the special interests behind the group, including Silicon Valley funding, and its founder Daniel Jones’s ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the widely discredited Steele dossier.
Jones, a former congressional staffer, founded Advance Democracy Inc. in 2018. The organization operates largely in the shadows, running a website that only states, “Advance Democracy, Inc. (ADI) is an independent, non-partisan organization that conducts global investigations to promote accountability, transparency, and good governance.”
An investigation by The Daily Caller in 2019 found that the organization’s donors “have largely been kept secret, as Jones has avoided revealing his backers.” The article also alleges that Jones “took credit for planting anti-Trump stories in the press.”

The New York Times in its correction also reveals a connection between Advance Democracy and a foreign entity named “Global Disinformation Index,” saying, “The data was provided by Advance Democracy, a research group, and analyzed by the nonprofit Global Disinformation Index, not provided solely by GDI.”

Global Disinformation Index is based in the UK. Its stated goal is to “defund and down-rank” websites it considers as containing “disinformation.” The group has admitted to working with “governments.”

The fact that The New York Times relied on a foreign entity to attack a U.S.-based media organization is concerning. There is also a larger ethical question about the relationship between so-called “disinformation” reporters and special interest groups.

This involvement by other entities in The New York Times’ article likely explains why the experience of communicating with Alba was such an unusual one for The Epoch Times. Alba would not provide The Epoch Times with information to back up her claim of a connection to the websites cited, despite a specific request. Furthermore, despite that The Epoch Times clarified multiple times that it was unconnected to the websites cited, Alba broke with journalistic conventions and chose not to include The Epoch Times’ clarification in her article.

This is not the first time that The New York Times has resorted to publishing false information about The Epoch Times. In November last year, the publication published an article that contained numerous false accusations. The Epoch Times at the time provided an in-depth analysis that can be read on our website (“New York Times’ 8-Month-Long ‘Investigation’ of The Epoch Times: Light on Facts, Heavy on Bias”).

Another concern is The New York Times’ ongoing attempts to criticize The Epoch Times for its critical position on the Chinese Communist Party, especially given The New York Times’ business ties to Chinese state-owned media entities, from which it has received advertising funding.

In its latest article, The New York Times suggests that The Epoch Times is among “conservative media organizations that spread misleading information” and then notes that we regularly publish “anti-Chinese Communist Party content,” as though this were an example of “misleading information.”

The Epoch Times was founded by Chinese Americans who had fled communist China and had experienced its horror firsthand. It is saddening to see that an American media outlet would attack a competitor for exposing the crimes committed by a communist regime.

At The Epoch Times, we believe that it is the job of a media organization to point out wrongdoing when it happens, and the Chinese Communist Party is the world’s worst violator of human rights. We sincerely hope The New York Times recognizes the threat that this regime poses not only to the Chinese people, but to the rest of the world.