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The Washington Times
The Washington Times front page.jpg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner News World Communications
Founded 1982
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Circulation 83,511 Daily
43,889 Sunday
Official website www.washingtontimes.com

The Washington Times is a daily broadsheet newspaper published in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. It was founded in 1982 by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, and has been subsidized by the Unification Church community. The Times is known for its conservative stance on social and political issues.

Contents

Founding

The Washington Times was founded in 1982 by Unification Church leader Sun Myung Moon[1], who has said that he is the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ and is fulfilling Jesus' unfinished mission.[2][3] Bo Hi Pak, Moon's chief aide, was the founding president and the founding chairman of the board.[4] In 1996 Moon discussed his reasons for founding the Times in an address to a Unification Church leadership conference, saying "That is why Father has been combining and organizing scholars from all over the world, and also newspaper organizations, in order to make propaganda."[5] In 2002 Moon said: "The Washington Times is responsible to let the American people know about God" and "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world."[6]

At the time of the Times' founding Washington had only one major newspaper, the Washington Post. Massimo Introvigne, in his 2000 book The Unification Church, said that the Post had been "the most anti-Unificationist paper in the United States."[7] Former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and neo-conservative journalist David Frum, in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The '70s, wrote that Moon had granted the Times editorial independence.[8]

In 1998 Scott McLemee commented: “During the '70s, media coverage of the Moonies aroused tremendous public anxiety. Then they launched the Washington Times, a conservative newspaper that pretty much printed Reagan administration press releases under a reporter's byline. Suddenly you didn't hear very much about the sinister Unification Church anymore. Good business practices—like buying Utah real estate when it was cheap, or giving the Republicans a newspaper of their own—can bring a cult into the mainstream with alacrity.”[9]

Funding

The Washington Times has lost money every year that it has been in business. By 2002, the Unification Church had spent about $1.7 billion subsidizing its operation of the Times.[10] In 2003, The New Yorker reported that a billion dollars had been spent since the paper's inception, as Moon himself had noted in a 1991 speech, "Literally nine hundred million to one billion dollars has been spent to activate and run the Washington Times"[11]. In 2002, Columbia Journalism Review suggested Moon had spent nearly $2 billion on the Times.[12] In 2008, Thomas F. Roeser of the Chicago Daily Observer mentioned competition from the Times as a factor moving the Washington Post to the right, and said that Moon had "announced he will spend as many future billions as is needed to keep the paper competitive."[13]

History

Washington Times bag.jpg

The Times was founded the year after the Washington Star, the previous "second paper" of D.C., went out of business, after operating for over 100 years. A large percentage of the staff came from the Washington Star. When the Times began, it was unusual among American broadsheets in publishing a full color front page, along with full color front pages in all its sections and color elements throughout. Although USA Today used color in the same way, it took several years for the Washington Post, New York Times and others to do the same. The Times originally published its editorials and opinion columns in a physically separate "Commentary" section, rather than at the end of its front news section as is common practice in U.S. newspapers. It ran television commercials highlighting this fact. Later, this practice was abandoned (except on Sundays, when many other newspapers, including the Post, also do it). The Washington Times also used ink that it advertised as being less likely to come off on the reader's hands than the Post's. This design and its editorial content attracted "real influence" in Washington.[8] In 1994, the Times introduced a weekly national edition, especially targeted to conservative readers nationwide.[14]

In 1997, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (which is critical of United States and Israeli policies), praised the Times and its sister publication The Middle East Times for their objective and informative coverage of Islam and the Middle East, while criticizing the Times generally pro-Israel editorial policy.[15] In 1998 the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram wrote that the Times' editorial policy was "rabidly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel."[16]

In 2002, Post veteran Ben Bradlee said, "I see them get some local stories that I think the Post doesn’t have and should have had."[17] Dante Chinni wrote in the Columbia Journalism Review:

In addition to giving voice to stories that, as Pruden says, “others miss,” the Times plays an important role in Washington’s journalistic farm system. The paper has been a springboard for young reporters to jobs at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, even the Post. Lorraine Woellert, who worked at the Times from 1992 to 1998, says her experience there allowed her to jump directly to her current job at Business Week. “I got a lot of opportunities very quickly. They appreciated and rewarded talent and, frankly, there was a lot of turnover.”[12]

In 2004 the Washington Post reported dissention between some of the Times staff and ownership over the paper's stance on international issues, including support for the United Nations.[18]

As of 2007, home delivery of the paper in its local area was made in bright orange plastic bags, with the words, "Brighter. Bolder. The Washington Times" and a slogan that changes. Two of the slogans are "The voice and choice of discerning readers" and "You're not getting it all without us".[19]

In 2009, the Manila Times criticized the Times for an editorial which it said interfered with the political process in the Philippines,[20] while the New York Times criticized it for an editorial linking proposed health care reforms in the United States to policies of Nazi Germany.[21][22]

Political leanings

Times dispenser

The political views of The Washington Times are often described as conservative.[23][24][25] The Washington Post reported: "the Times was established by Moon to combat communism and be a conservative alternative to what he perceived as the liberal bias of The Washington Post."[6] In 1994 Reed Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media, a media watchdog group, said: "The Washington Times is one of the few newspapers in the country that provides some balance."

The Times was read every day by President Ronald Reagan during his terms in office.[26] In 1997 he said:

The American people know the truth. You, my friends at The Washington Times, have told it to them. It wasn't always the popular thing to do. But you were a loud and powerful voice. Like me, you arrived in Washington at the beginning of the most momentous decade of the century. Together, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. And—oh, yes—we won the Cold War.[27]

Commentator Paul Weyrich has called the Times an antidote to its liberal competitor:

The Washington Post became very arrogant and they just decided that they would determine what was news and what wasn't news and they wouldn't cover a lot of things that went on. And the Washington Times has forced the Post to cover a lot of things that they wouldn't cover if the Times wasn't in existence.[28]

In 1999 the Times was criticized by the Daily Howler for misquoting vice-president Al Gore.[29] In 2000 the Howler criticized the Times again, this time for making unsubstantiated allegations about Gore's campaign fundraising.[30] In 2004 the Howler criticized a Times' front page story which made fun of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry's vacationing in France.[31]

Conservative-turned-liberal writer David Brock, who worked for the Times' sister publication Insight on the News, said in his 2002 book Blinded by the Right that the news writers at the Times were encouraged and rewarded for giving news stories a conservative slant. In his 2004 book The Republican Noise Machine, Brock wrote "the Washington Times was governed by a calculatedly unfair political bias and that its journalistic ethics were close to nil."[32]

In his 2003 book, Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, comedian, author, and later senator Al Franken devoted a chapter to criticizing the Times after executive editor Wesley Pruden re-wrote a reporter's story—without the reporter's knowledge—about Franken's performance at a White House party. According to Franken, the rewrite was made to appear as if Franken had received a negative reception, which he says was not the case.[33]

The Washington Times has been accused of promoting racist views. Max Blumenthal in The Nation claimed that Times editor Fran Coombs had made a number of racist and sexist comments and was being sued by his colleagues for his remarks.[34]. The Southern Poverty Law Center in its Spring 2005 report criticized the wife of Fran Coombs, for writing articles in what the report claimed as white nationalist websites such as the Occidental Quarterly.[35]. Media Matters criticized the Times for promoting the views of Steve Sailer of VDARE.[36].

In 2002, the Times published a story accusing the National Educational Association (NEA), the largest teachers' union in the United States, of promoting teaching students that the policies of the United States government were partly to blame for the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.[37] This was denied by the NEA and by other commentators.[38][39]

In 2007, Mother Jones said that the Times had become "essential reading for political news junkies" soon after its founding, and quoted James Gavin, special assistant to Bo Hi Pak:

We're trying to combat communism and we're trying to uphold traditional Judeo-Christian values. The Washington Times is standing up for those values and fighting anything that would tear them down. Causa is doing the same thing, by explaining what the enemy is trying to do.[40]

In a 2008 essay published in Harper's Magazine, historian Thomas Frank linked the Times to the modern American conservative movement, saying:

There is even a daily newspaper—the Washington Times—published strictly for the movement’s benefit, a propaganda sheet whose distortions are so obvious and so alien that it puts one in mind of those official party organs one encounters when traveling in authoritarian countries.[41]

In 2009 the New York Times reported:

With its conservative editorial bent, the paper also became a crucial training ground for many rising conservative journalists and a must-read for those in the movement. A veritable who’s who of conservatives — Tony Blankley, Frank J. Gaffney Jr., Larry Kudlow, John Podhoretz and Tony Snow — has churned out copy for its pages.[42]

Recent changes

In January 2008, editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden retired and John F. Solomon began work as executive editor of the Times. Solomon is known for his work as an investigative journalist for the Associated Press and the Washington Post, and was most recently head of investigative reporting and mixed media development at the Post.[43][44][45] Within a month the Times changed some of its style guide to conform more to mainstream media usage. The Times announced that it would no longer use words like "illegal aliens" and "homosexual," and in most cases opt for "more neutral terminology" like "illegal immigrants" and "gay," respectively. The paper also decided to stop using "Hillary" when referring to Senator Hillary Clinton, and the word "marriage" in the expression "gay marriage" will no longer appear in quotes in the newspaper. These changes in policy drew criticism from some conservatives.[46] Prospect magazine attributed the Times' apparent move to the center to differences of opinion over the United Nations and North Korea, and said: "The Republican right may be losing its most devoted media ally."[47]

On May 31, 2008, the Times announced that its Civil War section, which some commentators had said was too sympathetic to the South, would be expanded to include coverage of all America's wars and would be renamed "America at War."[48] At the same time the Times laid off about 30 employees [49] and also stopped printing a Saturday edition as cost saving measures; it still produces an electronic version of the Saturday paper.[50] In August 2008, the Times announced it would outsource its printing operations to the publisher of The Baltimore Sun in order to avoid the expense of overhauling existing presses.[51] In March 2009, the Times announced that it would soon launch a syndicated radio talk show.[52][53] In October 2009 the Times partnered with the Heritage Foundation to launch TheConservatives.com, a website aimed at conservatives.[54]

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Layoffs and restructuring

On November 9, 2009, the Times' chairman and CEO, Dong Moon (Douglas) Joo; its president, Tom McDevitt; and its chief financial officer, Keith Cooperrider—all members of the Unification Church—were abruptly fired and Jonathan Slevin, a Times vice president, was appointed Acting Publisher. Thereafter, Solomon resigned as executive editor.[55] Richard Miniter, editorial page editor and vice president of opinion at the Times, was also fired during the shakeup. After his termination, he filed a discrimination complaint against the paper, saying he was coerced into attending a Unification Church religious ceremony that culminated in a mass wedding conducted by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. [56][57]

On November 30, 2009 the New York Times reported that the Washington Times would no longer be receiving funds from the Unification Church and might have to cease publication or go to online publication only.[42] In December 2009 the Times announced it would lay off 40% of its 370 employees and stop subscription service, instead distributing the paper free in some areas of Washington including branches of the government. It said that it would focus on its "core strengths," which it identified as "exclusive reporting and in-depth national political coverage, enterprise and investigative reporting, geo-strategic and national security news and cultural coverage based on traditional values." [58] Later that month the Times announced that it would cease publication of its Sunday edition, along with other changes partly in order to end its reliance on subsidies from the Unification Church ownership. [59] On December 31, 2009 it announced that it would end its coverage of sports.[60][61] In January 2010 the Times announced that it would move out of its headquarters in Washington and probably move to Maryland or Virginia.[62] On January 29, 2010 the Times announced the hiring of Sam Dealey as editor. He is a media fellow at the Hoover Institution and had previously worked for the U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, CNN, and other news outlets.[63]

Notable current and former writers

News

  • Jeffrey H. Birnbaum (Managing editor, WashingtonTimes.com)
  • Stephen Dinan (Immigration and political reporter)
  • Bill Gertz (Defense and foreign policy reporter)
  • Ralph Z. Hallow
  • Donald Lambro
  • John McCaslin
  • Jerry Seper (Investigative reporter)

Opinion

Sports

Computers

Metro

  • Gary Emerling (D.C. Reporter)
  • Adrienne T. Washington (columnist)
  • Tom Knott (columnist)
  • Fred Reed (police beat, later took on a broader purview)

Former

Executives, editors and managers, present and past

Editors-in-chief

Managing editors

  • Josette Sheeran Shiner (1992-1997)
  • William Giles (1997-2002)
  • Fran Coombs (2002-2008)
  • David W. Jones (2008-present)

Others

See also

References

  1. ^ AROUND THE NATION; Sun Myung Moon Paper Appears in Washington from The New York Times
  2. ^ Moon At Twilight: Amid scandal, the Unification Church has a strange new mission, Peter Maass New Yorker Magazine, September 14, 1998. "Moon sees the essence of his own mission as completing the one given to Jesus--establishing a "true family" untouched by Satan while teaching all people to lead a God-centered life under his spiritual leadership."..."Although Moon often predicts in his sermons that a breakthrough is near, Moffitt realizes that Moon may not come to be seen as the messiah in his lifetime."
  3. ^ Unifying or Dividing? Sun Myung Moon and the Origins of the Unification Church, by George D. Chryssides, University of Wolverhampton, U.K. A paper presented at the CESNUR 2003 Conference, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  4. ^ Pak was founding president of the Washington Times Corporation (1982-1992), and founding chairman of the board. Bo Hi Pak, Appendix B: Brief Chronology of the Life of Dr. Bo Hi Pak, in Messiah: My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Vol I by Bo Hi Pak (2000), Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  5. ^ Moon-talks
  6. ^ a b "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A60061-2002May22. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  7. ^ excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 p25
  8. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 146. ISBN 0465041957. 
  9. ^ Rethinking Jonestown, ‘’Salon’’, June 17, 1998
  10. ^ Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20 (washingtonpost.com)
  11. ^ Rev. Sun Myung Moon - Our Mission During The Time Of World Transition
  12. ^ a b Washington 2002: The Other Paper
  13. ^ How the Liberal Media Stonewalled the Edwards Chicago Daily Observer August 18, 2008
  14. ^ Conservative Daily Tries to Expand National Niche, New York Times, June 27, 1994
  15. ^ As U.S. Media Ownership Shrinks, Who Covers Islam?, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1997
  16. ^ The same old game, Al-Ahram, November 12-18, 1998, "The Washington Times is a mouthpiece for the ultra conservative Republican right, unquestioning supporters of Israel's Likud government. The newspaper is owned by Sun Myung Moon, originally a native of North Korea and head of the Unification Church, whose ultra-right leanings make him a ready ally for Netanyahu. Whether or not Netanyahu is personally acquainted with Moon is unclear, though there is no doubt that he has established close friendships with several staff members on The Washington Times, whose editorial policy is rabidly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel."
  17. ^ Washington 2002: Donald Graham's Washington Post
  18. ^ Tension of the Times Washington Post June 18, 2004, "Insiders say the church's new line is that with the end of the Cold War, it's important to support international organizations such as the United Nations and to campaign for world peace and interfaith understanding. That stance would be awkward for the Times's hard-line editor in chief, Wesley Pruden, and its stable of neoconservative columnists."
  19. ^ Bardach, Ann Louise; David Wallis (2004). Moonstruck: The Rev. and His Newspaper. Nation Books. pp. 137–139, 150. ISBN 1560255811. http://books.google.com/books?id=HH9XFP2VAhAC&printsec=frontcover. 
  20. ^ Not-so-invisible hand, Manila Times, July 29, 2009
  21. ^ False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots, New York Times, August 14, 2009
  22. ^ Baquet of 'N.Y. Times' Apologizes For 'Washington Times' Flap, Editor & Publisher, August 17, 2009
  23. ^ Hall, Mimi (2001-03-22). "Bush, aides boost access of conservative media". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2001-03-22-media.htm#more. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  24. ^ Glaberson, William (1994-06-27). "The Media Business; Conservative Daily Tries to Expand National Niche". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/06/27/business/the-media-business-conservative-daily-tries-to-expand-national-niche.html. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  25. ^ New business models for news are not that new,Nikki Usher, Knight Digital Media Center, 2008-12-17, "And the Washington Times' conservative stance pursues its agenda from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church."
  26. ^ Behind the Times Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting August/September 1987
  27. ^ Dear Leader's Paper Moon The American Prospect 2005-09-19
  28. ^ MediaChannel.org - Frontline: Reverend Moon
  29. ^ Have we ever used the words "liar" before? Today we do, of the Washington Times
  30. ^ Writing about those new Gore e-mails, the Washington Times showed its character problems
  31. ^ Just how dumb is the Washington Times? Check today's front page on Kerry
  32. ^ Brock, David, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative. 2002, Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1400047284; The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. 2004, Crown. ISBN 978-1400048755
  33. ^ Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Dutton, August 29, 2003
  34. ^ Hell of a Times
  35. ^ The News that fits
  36. ^ [1] Media Matters
  37. ^ Nyhan, Brendan (2002-09-05). "The big NEA-Sept. 11 lie; How the Washington Times helped create a myth about the teachers' union and Sept. 11". Salon.com. 
  38. ^ Young, Cathy (2002-09-02). "An unfair attack on teachers union". The Boston Globe. http://cathyyoung.net/bgcolumns/2002/unfair.html. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  39. ^ National Education Association (2002-08-20). "Letter to the Washington Times from NEA President". Press release. http://www.nea.org/nr/nr020820b.html. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  40. ^ Bush Sr. To Celebrate Rev. Sun Myung Moon—Again Mother Jones April 29, 2007
  41. ^ The wrecking crew - How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing. Frank, Thomas. Harper's Magazine, August 2008
  42. ^ a b With Tumult at the Top, Washington Times Faces Uncertainty, New York Times, November 30, 2009.
  43. ^ State Native to lead DC newspaper Connecticut Post January 26, 2008
  44. ^ Ex-Washington Post Reporter to Lead a Rival New York Times February 11, 2008
  45. ^ Erik Wemple, "Playing Center: John Solomon is pushing evenhandedness at the Washington Times, Washington City Paper, February 29, 2008.
  46. ^ Washington Times updates style guide, conservatives up in arms
  47. ^ News and Curiosities, Prospect, September 2006
  48. ^ Announcement Washington Times, 2008-05-31
  49. ^ The New Face of the Times Washington Post. June 2, 2008.
  50. ^ 'Wash Times' Ends Saturday Edition Editor and Publisher, May 31, 2008.
  51. ^ Washington Times outsourcing printing to Baltimore
  52. ^ Times to launch syndicated radio show, Washington Times, March 23, 2009
  53. ^ Wasington Times to Launch Radio Show, Mediaweek, March 23, 2009
  54. ^ New moons are rising, Asia Times, October 31, 2009
  55. ^ The Editor of the Washington Times Has Resigned, New York Times, November 13, 2009
  56. ^ Washington Times editor files EEOC complaint. Washington Post, November 17, 2009, "Disclosing his dismissal, Miniter says paper forced him to attend religious event."
  57. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/02/business/AP-DC-Washington-Times-Cuts.html Washington Times to Cut Staff to Reach Goals (AP December 2, 2009)
  58. ^ Large Staff Cuts Announced at the Washington Times, New York Times, December 2, 2009
  59. ^ 'Washington Times' Dropping Sunday Edition As Part of 'Refocused' Approach, Editor & Publisher, December 21, 2009
  60. ^ Washington Times cuts sports section, others, Washington Examiner, December 31, 2009
  61. ^ Eulogy for sports, Washington Times, January 3, 2010
  62. ^ 'Washington Times' Moving out of Headquarters, U. S. News and World Report, January 6, 2010
  63. ^ 'Washington Times' Hires Sam Dealey as New Editor, US News and World Report, January 29, 2010

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