The Washington Times
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Ownership and finances
Started by Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon in 1982, the Times has had nearly $2 billion in church subsidies as of 2002. Although much of the early Times staff came from the defunct Washington Star, the paper's board of directors was made up of members of the Unification Church, with the staff undergoing occasional purges, resignations, and faction fights over the direction of the paper.[note 1] No less an authority than the Rev. Moon himself has proclaimed the Times a "gift" to America to thank the U.S. for fighting Communism in Korea, or something like that.[note 2] In 2002 Rev. Moon outdid himself by proclaiming he established the Times "in response to heaven's direction" and that "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world."
In April 2010, the Moonies cut off the paper's subsidy. This was scooped March 30 by the Drudge Report and denied at the time by the Times and reported May 1 in the Washington Post. The paper was sold in September 2010 for $1, apparently back to the elder Rev. Moon to solve a feud over the paper among his sons. The Washington Times is owned by Operations Holdings, a Moonie front company, which in turn is owned by HSA-UWC ("Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity"), which could be called either another front group (since few people know what HSA-UWC is) or just a synonym of the Unification Church. Only by 2015 did the Times become profitable.
Editorial slant and misinformation
The editorial slant of the Washington Times is notably conservative and partisan in favor of the Republican Party. On occasion, they do some bang-up investigative journalism and muckraking, sometimes on other conservative groups which the Moonies are involved in intramural feuds with. Usually though, the Times is a quaint bore, ever pining for a return to the glory days of the 1850s or 1920s, and Ronald Reagan's befuddled dreams of reactionary radicalism.
The paper promotes all sorts of wingnut
idiocies curiosities, including various pseudosciences (creationism, anti-environmentalism, global warming denial, false claims about abortion and abstinence-only sex education) and bigotry (homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-secularism).
Notable editorial tics: Until recently, The Washington Times had an inability to mention gay marriage anywhere in their pages, including AP wire stories, without putting gratuitous scare quotes around "marriage." When Times editor John Solomon, formerly of the AP and Washington Post, decided to drop that practice and the use of "illegal alien" in 2008, the move attracted some criticism from the Media Research Center: "...whatever the reigning liberal sensibilities are in our news template, often defined by minority journalist groups, are defined as 'neutral'...it does suggest that Solomon has his eyes on impressing the national media elite, and not just impressing the inside-the-Beltway readership of the Times."
A January 2020 BBC article reported that "two widely-shared Washington Times articles[,] both of which quote a former Israeli military intelligence officer" for a conspiracy theory that COVID-19 likely resulted from a Chinese bioweapons program.
In a column from March 13, 2020, "Coronavirus and the death of statesmanship," Times opinion writer Tim Constantine published a quote from a forged tweet attributed to Senator Chuck Schumer as fact in order to depict Schumer as hypocritical in criticizing President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. However, nearly a week earlier, the Times republished an Associated Press report disproving the existence of the tweet. In late February, conservative blog Powerline acknowledged: "The allegedly deleted Schumer tweet does not appear in Pro Publica’s authoritative list of deleted Schumer tweets. I regret not verifying the authenticity of the deleted tweet before posting this. I’m declaring it a hoax."
The paper has employed some rather, er, controversial columnists, including:
- Sam Francis, the white nationalist who they fired after he got a little bit more racist than usual. Found a warmer spot to roost at the Council of Conservative Citizens before he died.
- Frank Gaffney, Islamophobe extraordinaire and "Creeping Sharia" conspiracy theorist.
- Jeffrey T. Kuhner, gibbering wingnut demagogue who thinks Obama is every historical tyrant under the sun and then some, also has a severe case of psychological projection that could give even Bryan Fischer a run for his money.
- Peter LaBarbera, rabid homophobe, now heads "Americans for Truth About Homosexuality."
- Robert Stacy McCain, member of the neo-Confederate group League of the South.
- Bill Sammon, see also Fox News.
...and David BrooksNever mind, Bobo was far too sane for the Moonie Times and went on to the other Times.
- Examples: Should the paper be neoconservative and a voice for robber barons and foreign policy hawks, or should it be paleoconservative and keep company with neo-Confederates and racialists? Should every staff member give total fealty to Rev. Moon or is fealty to the memory of Ronald Reagan sufficient?
- In reality it is more or less an attempt by the Moonie cult to insert themselves into the mainstream by owning a major newspaper, much as Christian Science has accomplished with the Christian Science Monitor - the difference being the CSM usually deals in facts.
- Ahrens, Frank. "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20." The Washington Post: March 23, 2002 (archived June 29, 2011). Accessed April 19, 2020. "As of this year, Moon and his businesses have plowed about $1.7 billion into subsidizing the Times, say current and former employees."
- Shapira, Ian. "Unification Church will put Washington Times up for sale." The Washington Post: May 1, 2010. Accessed April 19, 2020.
- Washington Times says it is not for sale, Washington Business Journal, Mar 30, 2010
- Washington Times Sold For $1, Just Like Newsweek. US News and World Report, August 31, 2010. Archived from the original.
- Krepel, Terry. "The Right-Wing Paper Chase (And Money Pit)." ConWebWatch: April 11, 2013. Accessed April 19, 2020.
- Operations Holdings: About Us. www.operationsholdings.com
- Washington Times reaches profitability after 33 years, $1 billion in losses. The Washington Times, October 4, 2015.
- The scare quote are still live as of April 19, 2020 in "Iowa gay 'marriage' law struck down" from August 31, 2007, a reprint of an Associated Press article.
- Wemple, Erik. "Washington Times “Scare Quotes” Are History." Washington City Paper: February 25, 2008. Accessed April 19, 2020.
- Graham, Tim. "Washington Times Editor Endorses 'Gay,' Banishes Illegal 'Alien'." NewsBusters: February 26, 2008.
- "China coronavirus: Misinformation spreads online about origin and scale." BBC: January 30, 2020. Accessed April 19, 2020.
- Constantine, Tim. "Coronavirus and the death of statesmanship." The Washington Times: March 13, 2020. Accessed April 19, 2020. "In a Feb. 5 tweet, Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said 'the premature travel ban to and from China by the administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing war against immigrants.' [...] The same Chuck Schumer who criticized the Trump administration for acting too quickly with the China travel ban took a different approach as the coronavirus crisis wore on. He deleted his earlier tweet and on Feb. 24 and issued a statement accusing Mr. Trump of 'towering incompetence' and saying that the “President has been slow to take action to confront the virus abroad.” Fact check: When the president took action there were 6 cases of coronavirus reported in the United States and no deaths."
- Dupuy, Beatrice; Lajka, Arijeta; and Seitz, Amanda. "NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week." Associated Press: March 6, 2020. Accessed April 19, 2020. Republished on WashingtonTimes.com on the same date.
- Johnson, Scott. "Schuminations: Hiding the Truth (Hoaxed!)" Powerline: February 29, 2020. One reader amazingly commented (with 6 upvotes): "... it certainly sounds like something he'd have said, so fake but accurate?"
- Meet Robert Stacy McCain, Neo-Confederate Wacko Extraordinaire, Holocaust Controversies