The Washington Times is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1982 as a conservative alternative to the Washington Post by members of the controversial Unification Church. It has lost well over $1 billion since its inception.
Paul Weyrich, a co-founder of the Moral Majority conservative Christian political action committee, praises the Washington Times as an "antidote" to its "liberal competitor," The Washington Post: "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."  (http://www.mediachannel.org/originals/moontranscript.shtml)
Reporter Bill Gertz is famed for producing a number of scoops based on sources in the American intelligence community, many of which have turned out to be false. Former editor and early Sun Myung Moon follower Josette Shiner was appointed U.S. Deputy Trade Representative in 2003.
The Washington Times Corporation also publishes the New York Noticias Del Mundo, and the monthly World&I. The weekly Insight newsmagazine, now defunct, provided additional funding to Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit against President Bill Clinton, allowing the suit to continue after her own funding ran out. The Washington Times Foundation has also sponsored workshops on morality, such as a recent "God and Peace" forum attended by Moon, Sen. Richard G. Lugar, and White House officials, as well as donating money to the George H. W. Bush presidential library.
The Times has a circulation of approximately 100,000 a day, versus about 700,000 for the Washington Post. It should not be confused with the Washington Times established in 1893, which became the Washington Times-Herald and was merged with the Washington Post in 1954.
Relationship to the Unification Church
The Unification Church calls Rev. Sun Myung Moon the "founder" of the Times:
- "Fifteen years ago, when the world was adrift on the stormy waves of the Cold War, I established The Washington Times to fulfill God's desperate desire to save this world. Since that time, I have devoted myself to raising up The Washington Times, hoping that this blessed land of America would fulfill its world-wide mission to build a Heavenly nation. Meanwhile, I waged a lonely struggle, facing enormous obstacles and scorn as I dedicated my whole heart and energy to enable The Washington Times to grow as a righteous and responsible journalistic institution."  (http://www.tparents.org/Moon-Talks/sunmyungmoon97/sm970617.htm)
However, the Unification Church has been willing to run the paper at a loss to provide a political voice. In 2003, the New Yorker claimed that a billion dollars had been spent since the paper's inception. Critics of the Unification Church claim that operation of the Times is part of an attempt by the Unification Church to gain political influence in Washington, D.C.; to back up this claim, they also refer to the purchase of the UPI newswire service by the Church in 2001 -- a move that gives the Unification Church a press seat on Air Force One. The "Times" was also President Ronald Reagan's preferred newspaper.
Despite being owned by the Unification Church, it claims to be independent of the Church, and claims not to propagate the Church's teachings directly. (Compare Christian Science Monitor.) The Times is in favor of many topics other Christian conservative organizations support, including religious freedom for Christians worldwide and a dislike of government interference in family life, except to discourage the formation of gay families, to prosecute pornography and other violations of moral values. The Times states that it does not proselytize directly for the Unification Church.
Several critics have claimed that the Times is little better than a mouthpiece for the Unification Church, noting that the paper's op-ed pages are often sympathetic to Unification movement concerns. The paper's first publisher, James Whelan, resigned rather than knuckling under to what he saw as church interference with his operation of the paper. "I have blood on my hands," he declared. The paper's current editor says Whelan was fired because he was difficult to work with and other staffers were threatening to quit because of this.
While Times reporters have prided themselves on their independence from the church's position, this has occasionally put them at odds with the founder's claims of having direct influence on the Republican Party via his extravagant funding of the newspaper. And during a recent anniversary party for the Times, Moon declared: "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world" (and this, the rival Post reported, sent many reporters to the bar for a drink).
Sometimes, however, the paper has been at odds with the church's position. For example, on March 3, 2003, the lead editorial declared:
- "The time has come for the president to publicly declare that it is the decision of the United States government to lead an invasion of Iraq with the intent to change the regime."
Members and observers of the Unification Church note that this is counter to the official church position, which opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The only newspaper with a regular "Civil War" desk, the Times has also been criticized by gay activist Michelangelo Signorile and the Southern Poverty Law Center as a haven for such reconstructed pro-Confederates as Robert Stacy McCain, a critic of Abraham Lincoln.
- Washington Times official web site (http://www.washtimes.com)
- True Family And True Universe Centering On True Love (http://www.tparents.org/Moon-Talks/sunmyungmoon97/sm970617.htm) -- Reverend Sun Myung Moon's "Founder's Address on the 15th Anniversary of The Washington Times" June 16, 1997 Washington, DC
- Report on the Washington Times (http://www.fair.org/media-outlets/washington-times.html) by media watchdog organization FAIR.
Third-party accounts of Washington Times reportage
- Robert Stacy McCain (http://home.att.net/~r.s.mccain/essays.html) home page with opinion essays and news articles
- Tom Knott (http://www.tom-knott.com) - Sports & Metro columnist for the Washington Times