Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Washington Times and HWA

I am indebted to Scoobie Davis for this information.

The Washington Times, a newspaper founded and owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, is now undergoing drastic cut backs with 40% of staff being laid off. This development is discussed by Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America in this column.

Here he describes how Sum Myung Moon used this paper in ways similar to how HWA used his magazine. Bolding mine.

The messianic Moon, who has referred to himself as "humanity's Savior," never cared about journalism in the traditional, American, free-marketplace sense of the word. Yes, he launched a product that looked like a newspaper, but [The Washington Times'] central goal was never really to inform its readers. Its goal seemed more often to misinform and to enhance Moon's reputation outside the United States. Moon and Unification Church leaders used the newspaper as a symbol, most often in Asia, to suggest that Moon moved freely among world leaders.

This is very similar to how HWA used his visits to world leaders, which were highlighted in The Plain Truth and in the intro of his World Tomorrow program in order to enhance his reputation among his followers and to overawe potential recruits.

However the paper itself was not very impressive. It never made any profit and was always run essentially on the Unification Church's charity.
That the newspaper in 2009 had a modest circulation roughly matching that of the Chattanooga Times Free Press was irrelevant to the paper's publishers, although the newspaper's evaporating readership probably was not lost on the Times' shrinking band of local advertisers.
It's circulation is also rather low. According to Wikipedia it's average circulation in the period October 2008-March 2009 was 83,511. Even LCG's Tomorrow's World has a higher circulation. In February 2008 LCG apologist Bob Theil reported that LCG produced 361,000 of the March 2008 issue.

The Unification Church teaches many doctrines contrary to Christianity and is widely regarded as a cult, both theologically and behaviorally. A fascinating outline of some of their beliefs may be found here from Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Center.

The way Sun Myung Moon used this newspaper to enhance his prestige is very similar to HWA's visits with world leaders. I find it intriguing to find such parallels with HWA.

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