The Washington Times

The Washington Times
The Washington Times
The Washington Times front page.jpg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner News World Media Development
Founded 1982
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Official website

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 until 2010 was owned by News World Communications, an international media conglomerate associated with the church. The Times is known for presenting socially and politically conservative views.[1][2][3][4]



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.[5] 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.[6] Moon asked Richard L. Rubenstein, a rabbi and college professor who had written on the Holocaust, to serve on the board of directors.[7]

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."[8] In 2002, at an event held to celebrate the Times' 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."[1]

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 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.[9] When the Times began it had 125 reporters, 25% of them Unification Church members.[10] In 1982 the Post criticized the Times for its negative review of the movie Inchon, which was also sponsored by the Unification Church.[11]

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.[9] 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.[12] 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. [13]

The Times was read every day by President Ronald Reagan during his terms in office.[14] 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.[15]

The Times circulation has always been much less than 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.[16] In 1994, the Times introduced a weekly national edition, especially targeted to conservative readers nationwide.[17]

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 their objective and informative coverage of Islam and the Middle East, while criticizing the Times generally pro-Israel editorial policy. The Report suggested that these newspapers, being owned by churches, were less influenced by pro-Israel pressure groups in the United States.[18] In 1998 the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram wrote that the Times' editorial policy was "rabidly anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and pro-Israel."[19]

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.[20] This was denied by the NEA and by other commentators.[21][22]

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."[23] 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.”[24]

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.[25]

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.[26]

The Southern Poverty Law Center in its Spring 2005 report criticized the wife of Times editor Francis "Fran" Coombs for writing articles for white nationalist websites such as the Occidental Quarterly.[27] In 2006, Max Blumenthal writing in The Nation reported that Moon's son Preston Moon 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. Moon was also reported to be trying to oust editor in chief Wesley Pruden, who was also said to have far-right leanings including sympathy for the Confederate States of America, and to recruit a non-extremist person to replace him.[28]

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".[29]

In 2009, the Manila Times criticized the Times for an editorial which it said interfered with the political process in the Philippines,[30] while the New York Times criticized it for an editorial linking proposed health care reforms in the United States to policies of Nazi Germany.[31][32]

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.[33][34][35] 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.[36] 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."[37]

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.[38] 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. 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.”[39] 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.[40] On December 31, 2009 it announced that it would end its coverage of sports.[41][42]

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.[43] 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.[44] On November 2, 2010, Moon and a group of former Washington Times editors purchased the paper from Moon's son, Preston Moon, for $1. This ended a stalemate that had been threatening to shut down the paper completely.[45] 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.[46] In June 2011 Ed Kelley, formerly of The Oklahoman, was hired as editor overseeing both news and opinion content.[47]


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.[48] 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".[49] In 2002, Columbia Journalism Review suggested Moon had spent nearly $2 billion on the Times.[24] 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."[50]

Political leanings

Times dispenser

The political views of The Washington Times are often described as conservative.[2][3][4] 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."[1] 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."

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.[51]

In 1999 the Times was criticized by the Daily Howler for misquoting vice-president Al Gore.[52] In 2000 the Howler criticized the Times again, this time for making unsubstantiated allegations about Gore's campaign fundraising.[53] In 2004 the Howler criticized a Times' front page story which made fun of Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry's vacationing in France.[54]

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."[55]

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.[56]

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.[57]

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.[38]

The Times has generally opposed gay and transgender rights.[58] In 2010, the Times published an editorial opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because it granted legal protective status for transgender people.[59][60][61] The editorial criticized transgender people and said that gender identity can be a choice, not an innate characteristic.[59]

Notable current and former writers


  • George Archibald (Congressional, political, United Nations, and education reporter)
  • Jeffrey H. Birnbaum (Managing editor,
  • Stephen Dinan (Immigration and political reporter)
  • Bill Gertz (Defense and foreign policy reporter)
  • Ralph Z. Hallow (Political reporter)
  • Donald Lambro Political reporter)
  • John McCaslin ("Inside the Beltway" columnist)
  • Jerry Seper (Investigative reporter)





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


Executives, editors and managers, present and past


Managing Editors

  • Coit Taylor Hendley Jr. (1982–1985)
  • Josette Sheeran Shiner (1992–1997)
  • William Giles (1997–2002)
  • Fran Coombs (2002–2008)
  • David W. Jones (2008–present)

Editorial Page Editors

  • Ann Crutcher (1982–1984)
  • William P. Cheshire (1984–1987)
  • Tony Snow (1987–1990)
  • Tony Blankley (2002–2007)
  • Brett M. Decker (2010–present)


See also

Flag of Washington, D.C..svg District of Columbia portal


  1. ^ a b c Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  2. ^ a b Hall, Mimi (2001-03-22). "Bush, aides boost access of conservative media". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  3. ^ a b Glaberson, William (1994-06-27). "The Media Business; Conservative Daily Tries to Expand National Niche". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  4. ^ a b 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."
  5. ^ AROUND THE NATION; Sun Myung Moon Paper Appears in Washington from The New York Times
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Rabbi Joins the Board of Moonie Newspaper", The Palm Beach Post, May 21, 1978
  8. ^ excerpt The Unification Church Studies in Contemporary Religion, Massimo Introvigne, 2000, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 1-56085-145-7 p25
  9. ^ a b Frum, David (2000). How We Got Here: The '70s. New York, New York: Basic Books. p. 146. ISBN 0465041957. 
  10. ^ The Nation's Capital Gets A New Daily Newspaper,Washington Post, May 17, 1982
  11. ^ Romano, Lois (September 18, 1982). "Review is Killed". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. C1. 
  12. ^ "Ex-Publisher Says Moon Church Ran Newspaper," The New York Times, July 23, 1984.
  13. ^ "Five Resign from Washington Times," The Washington Post, April 15, 1987.
  14. ^ Behind the Times Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting August/September 1987
  15. ^ Dear Leader's Paper Moon The American Prospect 2005-09-19
  16. ^ Washington Times Moves to Reinvent Itself, Alex S. Jones, New York Times, January 27, 1992.
  17. ^ Conservative Daily Tries to Expand National Niche, New York Times, June 27, 1994
  18. ^ As U.S. Media Ownership Shrinks, Who Covers Islam?, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1997
  19. ^ 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."
  20. ^ 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". 
  21. ^ Young, Cathy (2002-09-02). "An unfair attack on teachers union". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  22. ^ Chase, Bob (2002-08-20). "Letter to the Washington Times from NEA President" (Press release). National Education Association. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 
  23. ^ Washington 2002: Donald Graham's Washington Post
  24. ^ a b Washington 2002: The Other Paper
  25. ^ Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them): A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Dutton, August 29, 2003
  26. ^ 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."
  27. ^ The News that fits
  28. ^ Hell of a Times
  29. ^ Bardach, Ann Louise; David Wallis (2004). Moonstruck: The Rev. and His Newspaper. Nation Books. pp. 137–139, 150. ISBN 1560255811. 
  30. ^ Not-so-invisible hand, Manila Times, July 29, 2009
  31. ^ False ‘Death Panel’ Rumor Has Some Familiar Roots, New York Times, August 14, 2009
  32. ^ Baquet of 'N.Y. Times' Apologizes For 'Washington Times' Flap, Editor & Publisher, August 17, 2009
  33. ^ State Native to lead DC newspaper Connecticut Post January 26, 2008
  34. ^ Ex-Washington Post Reporter to Lead a Rival New York Times February 11, 2008
  35. ^ Erik Wemple, "Playing Center: John Solomon is pushing evenhandedness at the Washington Times, Washington City Paper, February 29, 2008.
  36. ^ Washington Times updates style guide, conservatives up in arms
  37. ^ News and Curiosities, Prospect, September 2006
  38. ^ a b With Tumult at the Top, Washington Times Faces Uncertainty, New York Times, November 30, 2009.
  39. ^ Large Staff Cuts Announced at the Washington Times, New York Times, December 2, 2009
  40. ^ 'Washington Times' Dropping Sunday Edition As Part of 'Refocused' Approach, Editor & Publisher, December 21, 2009
  41. ^ Washington Times cuts sports section, others, Washington Examiner, December 31, 2009
  42. ^ Eulogy for sports, Washington Times, January 3, 2010
  43. ^ Unification Church CEO, others respond to unsigned blog post about Washington Times, Poynter Online (website of the Poynter Institute), July 22, 2010
  44. ^ Deal in Works for The Washington Times, New York Times, August 25, 2010
  45. ^ Shapira, Ian (November 3, 2010). "Moon group buys back Washington Times". Washington Post: p. C1. 
  46. ^ Washington Times relaunching Monday, Politico, March 16, 2011
  47. ^ Washington Times names Ed Kelley as editor; will oversee news coverage and opinion content, Washington Post, June 10, 2011
  48. ^ Ahrens, Frank (May 23, 2002). "Moon Speech Raises Old Ghosts as the Times Turns 20". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  49. ^ Rev. Sun Myung Moon - Our Mission During The Time Of World Transition
  50. ^ How the Liberal Media Stonewalled the Edwards Chicago Daily Observer August 18, 2008
  51. ^ - Frontline: Reverend Moon
  52. ^ Have we ever used the words "liar" before? Today we do, of the Washington Times
  53. ^ Writing about those new Gore e-mails, the Washington Times showed its character problems
  54. ^ Just how dumb is the Washington Times? Check today's front page on Kerry
  55. ^ 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
  56. ^ Bush Sr. To Celebrate Rev. Sun Myung Moon—Again Mother Jones April 29, 2007
  57. ^ The wrecking crew - How a gang of right-wing con men destroyed Washington and made a killing. Frank, Thomas. Harper's Magazine, August 2008
  58. ^ Bugg, Sean (16 January 2003). "What's in a Word?". Metro Weekly (Washington, District of Columbia). Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  59. ^ a b "Discrimination is necessary". The Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia). 23 April 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  60. ^ Garcia, Michelle (26 April 2010). "Editorial Calls LGBT Workers 'Weirdos'". Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  61. ^ 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. 

External links

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