Sun Myung Moon

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  • With sale complete, Washington Times readies to continue losing money

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Sale of the right-wing DC rag that has never turned a profit is finally complete after more than a year of turmoil.

    According to a report by Politico's Keach Hagey:

    The Washington Times sale that began with a due diligence process in late August has gone through, sources close to the sale tell POLITICO.

    News World Communications, the paper's parent company, chaired by Preston Moon, sold the paper to News World Media Development, a Delaware-registered LLC led by former Times Chairman Douglas Joo.

    The sale represents a return to the paper's old guard, and has widely been interpreted as the paper's founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, reasserting control over the 28-year-old newspaper that has been one of the most public faces of his sprawling business empire.

    You'll recall that the Times was founded in 1982 by Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a man who quite literally believes he is Christ returned to earth.

  • Internal spat pulls curtain back on Washington Times' troubles

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    On July 16, an unsigned letter was posted on the What Is On The Moon blog titled "Regarding the Washington Times" attempted to lay blame for the Times' troubles.

    The anonymous letter notes that the Times had been propped up for years by financial support from Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church:

    For 28 years, UCI has been a dedicated supporter of the Washington Times with the gracious patronage of its founder, with a view to uphold the values of family, faith and freedom. The founder of the Washington Times has always believed and continues to believe that the Times has and will play a key role in America and the rest of the world as a promoter of God-centered American values centered upon spiritual and moral principles. As the founder continuously stated in every speech about his work in the United States, it has been a worthwhile endeavor whose value is hard to quantify solely in financial terms.

    The letter goes on to blame the Times impending collapse or sale on Kook Jin Moon for cutting off financial support from the Church:

    It has been over a year since the Unification Church, at the direction of Kook Jin (Justin) Moon, who manages and controls all donations from Japan, has stopped the financial support of the Washington Times and its sister publication, United Press International, in direct defiance to the founder's wishes to fully support them.

    [...]

    However, despite best efforts, on June 17, 2010, UCI had to inform the founder that without receiving financial support, that it would no longer be able to continue funding the Washington Times, which still continues to require monthly subsidies in the millions, and therefore a sale or closure would be imminent.

    Of course, the letter did not come without response.

    Six days after the initial post went up, the Unification Church's CEO and others signed a letter responding to the anonymous screed:

    The letter begins by accusing Kook Jin Nim of cutting funding to the newspaper "in direct defiance to the founder's wishes." In fact enough funds were made available in August 2009 for UCI to support The Times operations for several months. However, contrary to expectations, most of those funds were not used for The Times operations. When objections were raised, UCI said it needed to set aside money for shut-down costs. These actions by UCI caused a loss of trust with investors and supporters, who discontinued further funding.

    The entire back-and-fourth is well worth a look if only because it provides readers with a behind the scenes look at a right-wing media institution that has been propped up for decades with big bucks by a man who believes he is the returned son of god.

    Media Matters' Eric Boehlert wrote more about the Times' demise in December:

    You'd think that somebody with a direct line to the Almighty, and tapped by Jesus to save mankind on Earth, would be able to come up with a better business plan for running a daily newspaper. But, alas, after nearly three decades of unrelenting financial losses, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a federal tax cheat, accused cult leader, and founder of the Unification Church, has decided to pull out. Actually, according to news reports, it's more like Moon's U.S. college-educated sons, as part of an internal family power struggle, have decided to finally cut off the endless stream of Asian church cash that's kept The Washington Times afloat.

    Previously:

  • Washington Times is up for sale after all

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Almost exactly one month ago it was rumored that the conservative Washington Times was up for sale. The speculation was almost immediately put to rest by Times' then president and publisher Jonathan Slevin:

    "The Washington Times has been approached throughout its history with expressions of interest by parties interested in purchase all or part of the company," said president and publisher Jonathan Slevin. "Contrary to online reports, however, the Washington Times is not currently negotiating with any party for sale of all or part of the company."

    In the month since batting down the story, Slevin had a very public parting with the Times (his contract wasn't renewed) and the Washington Post reports this morning that the Times is up for sale after all:

    Washington Times executives are negotiating to sell the newspaper, after the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's family cut off most of the annual subsidy of about $35 million that has kept the Unification Church-backed paper afloat, company officials said.

    Nicholas Chiaia, a member of the paper's two-man board of directors and president of the church-supported United Press International wire service, confirmed that the paper is actively on the market: "We recently entered into discussions with a number of parties interested in either purchasing or partnering with the Washington Times," he said in a statement to The Washington Post.

    [...]

    The negotiations follow months of turmoil at both the 28-year-old conservative daily and the business empire founded by Moon, 90, whose children are jostling for control over the church's myriad enterprises, which range from fisheries to arms manufacturing.

    One of the individuals interested in purchasing the Times is none other than John Solomon who left the right-wing paper as editor in chief just months ago.

  • Washington Times' troubles continue: Slevin reportedly out president and publisher

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    It appears the Washington Times is far from out of the woods following more than a year of problems including massive staff lay-offs and (unfounded?) rumors about the right-wing paper's pending sale:

    Politico's Patrick Gavin reports that Jonathan Slevin, the paper's president and publish, will be out of a job soon after just six months. Gavin writes:

    I've learned that Washington Times Publisher and President Jonathan Slevin is out after just six months in the position. His contract was not renewed.

    Slevin's tenure was marked with uncertainty: He took over as Executive Editor John Solomon parted ways with the paper in a very mysterious and acrimonious fashion, leaving the Times without its previously-hyped Washington Post hire. The paper also wrestled with a lawsuit from former Editorial Page Editor Richard Miniter. Large layoffs were announced in January. The sports section was axed as the paper announced a focus on national, international and cultural issues. 401k contributions were suspended. In all, Slevin's tenure was surrounded by one single question: Would the Washington Times survive?

    In an update to Gavin's post, a Times spokesman denied reports of Slevin's impending departure though Gavin updated his post further in the afternoon noting:

    Sources reconfirm Slevin's contract not being renewed. "He's out," says an editor. Multiple calls to Don Meyer have gone unreturned.

    Remember, the Times has reportedly never turned a profit with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (who claims to be the returned son of god) instead bankrolling the paper's bottom line for years at a cost estimated at well over $1 billion.

    Talk about free-market conservatism!

  • Put away your checkbook, Washington Times is not for sale

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    It's reportedly never turned a profit with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon (who claims to be the returned son of god) instead bankrolling the right-wing daily newspaper's bottom line for years at a cost estimated at well over $1 billion, but president and publisher Jonathan Slevin wants you to know that The Washington Times is not for sale.

    TPM's Justin Elliott reports:

    In response to a claim on the Drudge Report that the Washington Times is "up for sale," the company said in a statement that it is "not currently negotiating" a sale of the company.

    "The Washington Times has been approached throughout its history with expressions of interest by parties interested in purchase all or part of the company," said president and publisher Jonathan Slevin. "Contrary to online reports, however, the Washington Times is not currently negotiating with any party for sale of all or part of the company."

    Drudge is currently running an unlinked line of text that reads "SOURCES: WASHINGTON TIMES UP FOR SALE... DEVELOPING... "

    We followed up with Times spokesman Don Meyer to ask if he could comment directly on Drudge's claim that the paper is "up for sale." Meyer responded: "The statement on Drudge is untrue."

    Give Slevin and his colleagues a break. After all, it's been a really tough year for the paper:

    After decades of Rev. Moon's subsidies, Wash. Times shake-up aimed at helping paper become "financially sustainable"

    TPM: Washington Times editor-in-chief Solomon resigns

    Richard Miniter says Unification Church gives Wash. Times weekly payments "to keep complete control over the paper"

    Miniter says he attended Unification Church ceremony on understanding it was necessary for chance at Wash. Times job

    The end of the Wash. Times and Rev. Moon's right-wing charity

    So, this is what we're left with at the Washington Times

    Be sure to check out more reporting on the Washington Times woes at Talking Points Memo.