Recent attacks on The Epoch Times have made it nearly impossible for me to stay silent on why I have chosen to work with their team. Last summer my firm, Steinhauser Strategies, was hired by The Epoch Times to help build their brand and increase their influence among conservatives who share their values of truth and tradition.
I was somewhat familiar with The Epoch Times from my time in Washington, D.C. where I would see their newspaper in bins at metro stops throughout the city. I knew that they were virulently anti-communist, were founded by survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and were advocates for religious liberty in China. I was excited to provide strategic advice, open some doors, and make connections for this group so that they could increase their influence in the White House, in Congress, and in the conservative movement.
Over the past year, The Epoch Times has had tremendous success becoming part of the conservative movement as a media group. I attribute this to a few different factors: their values of truth and tradition, their anti-communist stance, their passion and unparalleled work ethic, hiring talented people, and investing in online marketing.
Given this success, and the fact that the Chinese Communist Party sees them as an existential threat, I am not surprised that MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow and Ali Velshi are attempting to discredit them. It is interesting, however, to note the similarities between the progressive hosts' attacks and those of the communist regime in Beijing.
It is unfortunate that MSNBC is essentially parroting the regime's propaganda against the media group, as well as the tens of millions of practitioners of Falun Gong. Especially given the fact that former Chinese dictator Hu Jintao stated that Falun Gong practitioners should be eradicated. It does make me wonder who is providing the attack lines to the media about The Epoch Times, although I believe it has become rather clear.
Any and every American that believes in freedom of expression, free speech, religious liberty, and classical liberal values should stand with political and religious dissidents that uphold and practice these values. As mentioned above, some of the founders of The Epoch Times were survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, and were arrested and tortured. They fled to the one place in the world where they knew that they would be free and safe to practice their faith tradition, speak out about the evils of communism, and uphold traditional values. I am sure they did not expect to be targeted so viciously by one of the biggest media companies in America.
With the regime in Beijing cracking down on the religious liberty of Christians, Muslims, and Falun Gong practitioners in China, and as it sends troops to the border with Hong Kong and threatens violence there, one would think that the mainstream media would be focusing its attention and criticism on the real threat to freedom and democracy: the communist government in Beijing. But instead, at this very moment, MSNBC is trying to take down a media group and a spiritual community that may pose a threat to the regime in the form of encouraging a billion Chinese and millions of Chinese expatriates to think for themselves, speak out against communism and authoritarianism, and to practice their faith traditions.
I cannot think of a better time for all Americans to stand with Chinese political and religious dissidents of all stripes, whether they are Falun Gong practitioners, Muslims, Christians, or pro-democracy protesters. All Americans, especially the media, should stand for freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press. It's not too late to do so.
Brendan Steinhauser is a conservative political strategist and Partner at Steinhauser Strategies. He has a Master's degree in Statecraft and International Affairs from The Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. and is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Global Studies at St. Edward's University in Austin.
Brendan Steinhauser is a national political strategist focused on campaigns, media, and public policy.