Since journalist John Solomon decamped from the Washington Post to become executive editor of the right-wing Washington Times in 2008, the newspaper has tried to shake its image as a political front for its founder, right-wing South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon.
The 27-year-old newspaper even wrested a “correction” from the New York Times for describing it as “decidedly opposed to Mr. Obama,” in the context of an NYT article about Washington Times’ editorials that compared Barack Obama’s health care plans to Nazi euthanasia policies. The Washington Times insisted that its news columns were objective and independent from the editorial opinions.
So what is one to make of the “independent” Washington Times leading its “Nation” news section Friday with a puff piece about Rev. Moon’s “much-anticipated autobiography that recounts the joys and challenges, the teachable moments and the monumental experiences of his life – much of it spent as a spiritual leader”?
The article by Jennifer Harper starts with this hard-hitting lede: “He has been on the planet nine decades, and he is buoyant of spirit and sure of step.” But the article doesn’t tell us much about the substance of the book, which is entitled As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, or almost anything about Moon’s real history.
For instance, there’s no mention of Moon’s financial and political support for right-wing death squads that terrorized Central America in the 1980s, nor his collaboration with right-wing regimes implicated in the drug trade in Asia and Latin America, nor his long record of illegal money-laundering.
Nor are there any interesting tidbits about his bizarre “religious” views, such as his early practice of “blessing the wombs” of female followers by having intercourse with them in rituals to purify the human race. Nor do we learn about Moon as the self-proclaimed new Messiah sent by God to correct the errors of Jesus, who supposedly didn’t do his part by having sex with women.
Nor is it mentioned that Moon collaborated with South Korea's intelligence agency in the "Korea-gate" plot of the 1970s to influence U.S. foreign policy, nor that he delivered anti-American diatribes denouncing the United States as “Satan’s harvest” and likening American women to “prostitutes.”
Even as Moon lined the pockets of powerful conservative U.S. politicians, including members of the Bush Family, Moon vowed to sweep aside American democracy and individualism in favor of a one-world state under his religious domination. Once this plan to “swallow entire America” is complete, Moon told his followers in one sermon, there will be “some individuals who complain inside your stomach. However, they will be digested.”
Yet, in the Washington Times’ “news” article, Moon’s anti-Americanism is sanitized, with the readers told instead that Moon’s book expresses “his untrammeled admiration of America.”
Still, there was real news in the article. We learn that among the “written congratulatory greetings” delivered to the “celebration” at an Arlington, Virginia, hotel were letters from Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and former President George H.W. Bush “handwritten and hand-delivered by his son Neil Bush.”
"Let us both keep working for a more peaceful world," wrote the senior George Bush, who has been the recipient of large speaking fees from Moon, estimated in the millions of dollars. [See Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]
"Rev. Moon is presenting a very simple concept. We are all children of God," added Neil Bush, who in recent years has been a retainer at events sponsored by Moon’s Universal Peace Federation.
Lieberman’s congratulatory letter was interesting, too, since the neoconservative senator has been linked to Moon’s operations in the past but has distanced himself when that information was made public.
For instance, author John Gorenfeld reported in 2003 that Lieberman was listed as a leader of a pro-faith policy group, Empowerment Network, founded by David Caprara, a top Moon official in Washington. The group’s Web site had links to both Free Teens USA and Pure Love Alliance, “an openly Moonie entity that was discovered in 2000 to be operating in 61 Chicago public schools before being shut down,” Gorenfeld wrote.
Lieberman’s name soon disappeared from the Empowerment Network’s Web site, and a Lieberman spokesperson insisted the senator was never formally affiliated with the group. [See Salon.com’s “Bad Moon on the Rise.”]
Regarding Thursday's gala in honor of Moon’s memoir, the Washington Times estimated the crowd at 1,300, “spread across three ballrooms and plied with beef, baby vegetables and delicate chocolate pastries.
“The event was indeed a shindig, but one tempered with quiet moments. Several people could be seen having quiet little prayers of their own as the evening unfolded.”
Despite the Washington Times’ insistence that it is editorially independent of Moon, the Times’ top brass – publisher Thomas P. McDevitt and executive editor John Solomon – were part of “the speaker’s lineup” praising Moon, the article said.
Why someone like Moon is feted by 1,300 movers and shakers at a Washington-area soiree and why he receives accolades from powerful acolytes, including members of America’s most powerful political family of the past quarter century, the Bushes, should not be too much of a surprise. Moon has spread around vast sums of his mysterious money.
Since 1982, Moon has poured more than $3 billion into the Washington Times, according to former newspaper insider George Archibald. Moon has lavished many millions of dollars more to pay for conservative conferences and to bail out key right-wing figures when they were in financial distress, such as Republican direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie and the late Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell.
In 2004, thankful Republicans even gave Moon use of a room in the Senate Dirksen Office Building so he could be crowned the “King of Peace” in a ceremony that Moon’s followers hailed as proof the U.S. government was bowing down to this new Messiah.
Now, five years later, Rev. Moon shows again that he -- and his money -- can still draw an appreciative audience.
[For more details on Rev. Moon’s unsavory history and his close ties to the Bushes, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege, available now at a discount at Amazon.com. Also, available as part of Parry’s three-book set for a total of only $29.]
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
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This story was published on October 2, 2009.