The Washington Times

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The Washington Times
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) News World Media Development, LLC
Editor Ed Kelley
Founded 1982
Headquarters 3600 New York Avenue NE Washington, D.C. 2002, United States
ISSN 0732-8494
OCLC number 8472624

The Washington Times is a daily broadsheet published at 3600 New York Avenue NE, Washington, D.C., United States. It was founded in 1982 by the founder of the Unification Church, Sun Myung Moon and was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the church, until 2010 when it was purchased directly by a group led by Moon.


The Washington Times was founded in 1982 by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the Unification Church which also owns newspapers in South Korea, Japan, and South America, as well as the news agency United Press International.[1] Bo Hi Pak, the chief aide of church founder and leader Sun Myung Moon, was the founding president and the founding chairman of the board.[2] Moon asked Richard L. Rubenstein, a rabbi and college professor who had written on the Holocaust, to serve on the board of directors.[3]

At the time of founding of the Times 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."[4] In 2002, at an event held to celebrate the Times's 20th anniversary, 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."[5]

File:Washington Times bag.jpg
The Washington Times bag.

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 a hundred 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.[6] When the Times began it had 125 reporters, 25 percent of them Unification Church members.[7] In 1982 the Post criticized the Times for killing critic Scott Sublett's negative review of the movie Inchon, which was also sponsored by the Unification Church.[8]

A former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, David Frum, in his 2000 book How We Got Here: The '70s, wrote that Moon had granted the Times editorial independence.[6] But some former employees, including the newspaper's first editor and publisher, James R. Whelan, have insisted that the paper was under Moon's control from the beginning. Whelan, whose contract guaranteed editorial autonomy, left the paper when the owners refused to renew the contract, asserting that "I have blood on my hands" for helping Moon acquire legitimacy.[9] Three years later, editorial page editor William P. Cheshire and four of his staff resigned, charging that, at the explicit direction of Sang Kook Han, a top official of the Unification Church, then-editor Arnaud de Borchgrave had stifled editorial criticism of political repression in South Korea.[10]

The Times was said to have been read every day by President Ronald Reagan during his terms in office.[11] 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.[12]

The circulation of the Times has always been much less than that of the Washington Post. In 1992 the New York Times reported the Times had only one eighth the circulation of the Post (100,000 to 800,000) and that two thirds of its subscribers also subscribed to the Post.[13] 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 (along with The Christian Science Monitor owned by the Church of Christ, Scientist), and the Times sister publication The Middle East Times for what it called their objective and informative coverage of Islam and the Middle East, while criticizing the generally pro-Israel editorial policy of the Times. The Report suggested that these newspapers, being owned by churches, were less influenced by pro-Israel pressure groups in the United States.[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 the Times published a story accusing the National Educational Association (NEA), the largest teachers union in the United States, of teaching students that the policies of the U.S. government were partly to blame for the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.[17] This accusation was denied by the NEA and by liberal commentators.[18][19]

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."[20] 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."[21]

In his 2003 book, Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, comedian, author, and later Democratic senator Al Franken devoted a chapter to criticizing the Times after executive editor Wesley Pruden rewrote 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.[22]

In 2004 the Washington Post reported dissension between some of the Times staff and ownership over the paper's stance on international issues, including support for the United Nations.[23]

In 2006 Max Blumenthal, writing in The Nation, reported that the Rev. Moon's youngest son Hyun-jin "Preston" Moon—who by this time had become president and CEO of parent company News World Communications—was in the process of ousting Coombs because of his racist editorializing. Blumenthal, quoting veteran Times news reporter George Archibald and others, reported that Coombs had made a number of racist and sexist comments, and was in the process of being sued by his colleagues for his remarks.[24]

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."[25]

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.[26][27][28] Within a month, the Times changed some of its style guide to conform more to what was becoming 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.[29] Prospect magazine attributed the Times's apparent move away from the far right to differences of opinion over the United Nations and North Korea, and said: "The Republican right may be losing its most devoted media ally."[30] Also that year, the Times stopped publishing a Saturday print edition.

In 2009 the Manila Times criticized the Washington Times for an editorial that it said interfered with the political process in the Philippines,[31] while the New York Times criticized it for an editorial linking proposed health care reform in the United States to policies of Nazi Germany.[32][33]

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.[34] In December 2009 the Times announced it would lay off 40 percent of its 370 employees and stop subscription service, instead distributing the paper free in some areas of Washington including branches of the government. The Times 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." A subscription website owned by the paper,, continued, as did the Times three-hour radio program, "America's Morning News."[35] 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.[36] On December 31, 2009, it announced that it would no longer be a full-service newspaper, eliminating its metropolitan-news and sports sections.[37][38]

In July 2010 international leaders of the Unification Church issued a letter protesting the direction the Times was taking and urging closer ties between it and the church.[39] In August 2010, a deal was made to sell the Times to a group more closely related to the church. Editor in chief Sam Dealey said that this was a welcome development among the Times' staff.[40] On November 2, 2010, the Rev. Moon and a group of former Washington Times editors purchased the paper from News World Communications for $1. This ended a bitter feud within the Moon family that had been threatening to shut down the paper completely.[41] In March 2011 the Times announced that some former staffers would be rehired and that the paper would bring back its sports, metro, and life sections.[42] In June 2011, Ed Kelley, formerly of The Oklahoman, was hired as editor overseeing both news and opinion content.[43]

In March 2013 it was announced that Herring Broadcasting would join with the Washington Times to create a new cable news network that is projected to begin broadcasting in the summer of 2013; the new network would be called One America News.[44]


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 the Times.[45] 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".[46] In 2002, Columbia Journalism Review suggested Moon had spent nearly $2 billion on the Times.[21] 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."[47]

Political leanings

The political views of The Washington Times are often described as extremely conservative.[48][49][50] 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."[5]

Conservative commentator Paul Weyrich commented:

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.[51]

In 2007, the left-leaning Mother Jones news magazine 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.[52]

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.[53]

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.[34]

Though not listed, another conservative writer who trained there was New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks, a Washington Times editorial writer in the 1980s.[54]

The Times has also been criticized for using the word "homosexual" rather than "gay".[55] In 2010, the Times published an editorial opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it granted legal protective status for transgender people. The editorial criticized some transgender people and said that gender identity can be a choice, not an innate characteristic.[56][57][58]

Notable writers



Executives, editors and managers, present and past


Managing editors

Editorial page editors


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See also



  1. "Sun Myung Moon Paper Appears in Washington". New York Times. May 18, 1982.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 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.
  3. "Rabbi Joins the Board of Moonie Newspaper", The Palm Beach Post, May 21, 1978
  4. excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 p25
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 146. ISBN 0-465-04195-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The Nation's Capital Gets A New Daily Newspaper,Washington Post, May 17, 1982
  8. Romano, Lois (September 18, 1982). "Review is Killed". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. p. C1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ex-Publisher Says Moon Church Ran Newspaper", The New York Times, Susan Rasky, July 23, 1984. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  10. "Five Resign from Washington Times," The Washington Post, April 15, 1987.
  11. Behind the Times Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting August/September 1987
  12. Dear Leader's Paper Moon The American Prospect 2005-09-19
  13. Washington Times Moves to Reinvent Itself, Alex S. Jones, New York Times, January 27, 1992.
  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 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. 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".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Young, Cathy (2002-09-02). "An unfair attack on teachers union". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-04-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Chase, Bob (2002-08-20). "Letter to the Washington Times from NEA President" (Press release). National Education Association. Retrieved 2008-04-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Washington 2002: Donald Graham's Washington Post[dead link]
  21. 21.0 21.1 Washington 2002: The Other Paper[dead link]
  22. Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Dutton, August 29, 2003
  23. 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."
  24. "Hell of a Times". Retrieved 2013-07-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Bardach, Ann Louise; David Wallis (2004). Moonstruck: The Rev. and His Newspaper. Nation Books. pp. 137–139, 150. ISBN 1-56025-581-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. State Native to lead DC newspaper Connecticut Post January 26, 2008
  27. Ex-Washington Post Reporter to Lead a Rival New York Times February 11, 2008
  28. Erik Wemple, "Playing Center: John Solomon is pushing evenhandedness at the Washington Times, Washington City Paper, February 29, 2008.
  29. "Washington Times updates style guide, conservatives up in arms". 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2013-07-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. News and Curiosities, Prospect, September 2006
  31. Not-so-invisible hand, Manila Times, July 29, 2009
  32. False 'Death Panel' Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots, New York Times, August 14, 2009
  33. Baquet of 'N.Y. Times' Apologizes For 'Washington Times' Flap, Editor & Publisher, August 17, 2009
  34. 34.0 34.1 With Tumult at the Top, Washington Times Faces Uncertainty, New York Times, November 30, 2009.
  35. Large Staff Cuts Announced at the Washington Times, New York Times, December 2, 2009
  36. 'Washington Times' Dropping Sunday Edition As Part of 'Refocused' Approach, Editor & Publisher, December 21, 2009
  37. Washington Times cuts sports section, others, Washington Examiner, December 31, 2009
  38. Eulogy for sports, Washington Times, January 3, 2010
  39. Unification Church CEO, others respond to unsigned blog post about Washington Times, Poynter Online (website of the Poynter Institute), July 22, 2010
  40. Deal in Works for The Washington Times, New York Times, August 25, 2010
  41. Shapira, Ian (November 3, 2010). "Moon group buys back Washington Times". Washington Post. p. C1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. Washington Times relaunching Monday, Politico, March 16, 2011
  43. Washington Times names Ed Kelley as editor; will oversee news coverage and opinion content, Washington Post, June 10, 2011
  44. Jennifer Harper (13 March 2013). "The Washington Times extending reach with cable network". Washington Times. Retrieved 15 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    David Freedlander (14 March 2013). "One America News Network, New Conservative Cable Channel, Sets Launch". Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    Keach Hagey (14 March 2013). "Herring Plans to Launch New Conservative News Network". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. Damian Anderson (1991-12-23). "Rev. Sun Myung Moon - Our Mission During The Time Of World Transition". Retrieved 2013-07-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. How the Liberal Media Stonewalled the Edwards Chicago Daily Observer August 18, 2008
  48. Hall, Mimi (2001-03-22). "Bush, aides boost access of conservative media". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. Glaberson, William (1994-06-27). "The Media Business; Conservative Daily Tries to Expand National Niche". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. 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."
  51. - Frontline: Reverend Moon Archived January 7, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  52. Bush Sr. To Celebrate Rev. Sun Myung Moon—Again Mother Jones April 29, 2007
  53. The wrecking crew - How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing. Frank, Thomas. Harper's Magazine, August 2008
  54. David Brooks Analyst Bio Online NewsHour
  55. Bugg, Sean (16 January 2003). "What's in a Word?". Metro Weekly. Washington, District of Columbia. Retrieved 13 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  56. "Discrimination is necessary". The Washington Times. Washington, District of Columbia. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  57. Garcia, Michelle (26 April 2010). "Editorial Calls LGBT Workers 'Weirdos'". Retrieved 13 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  58. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (26 April 2010). "CALL TO ACTION: Make Your Voice Heard! Anti-LGBT Washington Times Editorial Board Attacks ENDA, Says 'Discrimination Is Necessary'". Retrieved 13 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  59. "Sen. Rand Paul: Trust but verify on immigration reform". Washington Times. 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-07-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  60. "Washington Times ends Sen. Rand Paul column amid plagiarism allegations". Washington Times. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Gorenfeld, John (2008). Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right, and Built an American Kingdom. Sausalito, California: Polipoint Press. ISBN 0979482232.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links