Washington Times

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The Washington Times is a newspaper owned by Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, through its company News World Communications. The paper was first published on May 17, 1982. [1]

In January 2008, John Solomon was named Times executive editor, replacing the retiring Wesley Pruden.[2]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

The Washington Times has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[1] See ALEC Corporations for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


History

In a speech on the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Washington Times, Moon explained his motivation behind establishing the paper. "I founded The Washington Times as an expression of my love for America and to fulfill the Will of God, who seeks to establish America in His Providence," he said.

"In the context of God's Will, there needed to be a newspaper that had the philosophical and ideological foundation to encourage and enlighten the people and leaders of America," he explained.

In Moon's analysis, there was an important role for the paper in bolstering support for the continuance of the cold war against Russia. "The Washington Times' editorials and columns supported the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) at a time when many were trying to block this critical development," he said.

"I do not have the slightest doubt that God used The Washington Times to help bring an end to the most pernicious worldwide dictatorship in history and gave freedom to tens of millions of people!" he said.

With the collapse of the USSR, Moon's support for anti-communist campaigns shifted to central America. "In the 1980s, the Contras in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and other countries were fighting for their lives against the communist Sandinistas who were seeking to seize control of their countries, slaughtering thousands of people. While other media failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation. The Washington Times emphasized through its stories and columns the dangers of communist expansion in the hemisphere and why the freedom fighters should be supported. Once again, The Times news and information helped the leaders in Washington stay strong in their support for the Contras," he said.

During the 1990's with opportunities for anti-communist campaigns fading, Moon shifted focus to the "Cultural War" - "the fight against the degradation of values".

While editors of the Washington Times argue that the owners of the paper have no role in setting editorial policy, Moon made clear that he plays a critical role in the priorities of the publication. "Ten years ago, at the 10th anniversary celebration for The Times, I defined another mission for the media. This is the need for media to promote ethics and moral values in our society. For its second ten years, I envisioned for The Washington Times the task of contributing to bringing about a moral society. Because a peaceful world is only possible based on the existence of peaceful, ideal families, The Times became a newspaper that helped people understand the importance of strong moral, family values," he said.

In its third decade Moon has new priorities for the title: "...this is the time to emphasize and support faith, the time to emphasize and support spiritual values that are based on the faith of each individual," he said.

"While the media can provide all the facts, they also have the responsibility to provide values to prevent confusion and to provide leadership and direction, especially today when the entire world is flooded with news and information. The Washington Times and its affiliated media properties are taking a leading role in this regard," he said. [3]

In an article on the Unification Church website discussing the prospects of re-unification of North and South Korea, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, wrote: "With the establishment of The Washington Times in America we initiated a worldwide movement of ideally educating the free world, an intention that I had for a long time; we are also organizing around the globe to form many newspapers, to educate the world media, to give direction to university professors worldwide, to guide student movements in every nation, to bring about cooperation among various South American countries and to form understanding among the world religions." [4]

"This new era of media, with the massive distribution of news and information, requires leadership and clear guidance for the betterment of individuals based on values and on the knowledge of God and spirit world. The Washington Times and our family of media have been providing this direction for the past two decades and will continue to do so into our third decade. My hope is that each one of you as well will embody the qualities of defending freedom, promoting family values, and strengthening your faith in God so that you may become leaders of the world," he said.[5]

In an August 2002 address at the Heritage Foundation, the Editor in Chief of The Washington Times, Wesley Pruden, who started work with the paper when it commenced in 1982, explained the mood of the time. "Ronald Reagan was new in town, trying to stoke the fires of the free market and pluck up the courage of those of us who still wanted to make a fight of it. He had managed to get himself elected President of the United States, but he was greeted, like the media establishment greeted us, with incredulity, suspicion, frustration, even anger," Pruden said.

Pruden defends his papers style of journalism as being more in tune with the public than other mainstream media. "We would not only cover the news without slant or bias, but give voice to those who had been shut out of the national debate. This challenged a smug and entrenched journalism establishment that was swiftly losing touch with its constituency," was how he explained the charter of the paper.

"The one constant would be our editorial independence. We would never be told to put anything in the paper; more important, perhaps, we would never be asked to leave anything out. All that was ever asked was to be faithful to the task of reporting the news without fear or favor, to get it first and get it right", Pruden told those attending the Heritage Foundation's 'Second Annual Distinguished Journalist Lecture'.

"We hold to conservative political views, but we do not cover the news with a conservative slant or bias. A newspaper with a conservative bias in covering the news is no better than the newspapers with a liberal bias, because the reader can never know when someone is blowing smoke at him. We keep our opinions, and we have a few, to the editorial and commentary pages, or to columns clearly identified as opinion, in the honored tradition of American newspapers," he said.

Gene Grabowski, who resigned in 1988 over the misleading alternation of an article, said of the Washington Times: "It's the Fox News of the print world." [6]

Another reporter, Dawn Ceol - daughter of Paul Weyrich resigned too after Pruden - who has been editor in chief since 1992 - altered a story she wrote about Anita Hill to be more critical of Hill. [7]

Beirich and Moser, writing in the Intelligence Report published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, argue that those who dismiss The Washington Times as having little influence are mistaken. "But nobody has to actually read the Times to imbibe its spin on the news; the wilder its stories, the more likely television and print media are to pick them up and run with them," they wrote.

In particular they cited the case of a series of stories and editorials initiated by Washington Times reporter, Audrey Hudson, claiming that scientists had been caught attempting to fabricate evidence that lynx were more widespread than they really were.

The story was picked up by Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and the Seattle Times, gaining widespread coverage within the US and even internationally. While the story was that the biologists who made the unauthorized lynx hair submissions[8] claimed to be submitting blind samples in order to test the labs[9], the limited after the event retraction did little to diminish the impact of the original story.

In May 1992, after the Times had been operating almost ten years, Moon disclosed that he had invested "close to $1 billion" in the paper. [10]

Despite the major investments of previous years, as of late, the paper is struggling financially. A statement from the newspaper’s management did not mention a specific number of layoffs, but staff members said they received a letter that said the paper would be “reducing its work force by a minimum of 40 percent”. The layoffs were part of a strategy to revamp and re-energize the paper, according to Jonathan Slevin, the paper’s acting president and publisher. In another proposed changed to be instituted in the first quarter of 2010, The Washington Times will become a free newspaper in some areas of Washington, D.C.[2]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

References

  1. Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, "Corporations and Trades Associations that Fund ALEC," Corporate America's Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council, online report, 2003
  2. "Staff Cuts Announced at the Washington Times",New York Times Online", December 2, 2009.

Contact Information

3600 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-1947
Phone (Switch): (202) 636-3000
Website: http://www.washtimes.com/

External links

Articles & Speeches By Moon

General Articles