The Washington Times

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. The Times is known for its conservative stance on political and social issues. As of March 31, 2007, it had an average daily circulation of 102,351, about one-seventh that of its chief competitor in Washington, The Washington Post.


The Washington Times was founded by the direction of Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon in 1982. Bo Hi Pak, called Moon's "right-hand man", was the founding president and the founding chairman of the board. In 2002, during the 20th anniversary party for the Times, Moon said, "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world.

At the time of the Times' founding Washington had only one major newspaper, the Washington Post. The Post had been one of the leading critics of Moon's anti-communist political activism. Massimo Introvigne, in his book on the Unification Church, said that the Post was "the most anti-Unificationist paper in the United States."

By 2002, the Unification Church had spent about $1.7 billion in subsidies for the Times. The paper has lost money every year that it has been in business. 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. In 2002, Columbia Journalism Review suggested Moon had spent nearly $2 billion on the Times 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.


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 recently defunct 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.

Post veteran Ben Bradlee has said "I see them get some local stories that I think the Post doesn’t have and should have had. 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.”

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. This was denied by the NEA and by other commentators.

As of 2007, home delivery of the paper in its local area is 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".

Political leanings

Both liberals and conservatives often refer to the Times as politically conservative. Liberal critics have cited it along with, most notably, the Fox News Channel and talk radio, as epitomizing conservative media bias. The Daily Howler and Harper's Magazine have published analyses of what they believe are serious factual errors and examples of bias in the paper's news coverage. Conservative-turned-liberal writer David Brock, who worked for the Times' sister publication Insight on the News, said in his book Blinded by the Right that the news writers at the Times were encouraged and rewarded for giving news stories a conservative slant. In Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy Brock wrote "the Washington Times was governed by a calculatedly unfair political bias and that its journalistic ethics were close to nil. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, "Because of its history of a seemingly ideological approach to the news, the paper has always faced questions about its credibility.

The Times prints op-ed and opinion articles that include liberal and Democratic party voices, as well as conservative and Republican voices. Liberal columnist Clarence Page is a regular contributor. Also featured are Libertarian opinion pieces, almost always from scholars at the DC-located Cato Institute. The liberal news magazine Mother Jones said in 2007 that the Times had become "essential reading for political news junkies."

Conservative commentator Paul Weyrich has called the Washington 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.

The Times was President Ronald Reagan's preferred newspaper. 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.

Recent changes

In January 2008, editor-in-chief Wesley Pruden resigned 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. Solomon is quoted as saying:
The only point I have made with the reporters and editors who write for the news pages is there must be a bright line between opinion and editorializing that rightfully belongs on the op-ed and commentary pages and the fair, balanced, accurate, and precise reporting that must appear in the news sections of the paper.

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 Rodham 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.

On May 31, 2008, the Times announced that its Civil War section, which some commentators had said was too sympathetic to the South, would be expanded to include coverage of all America's wars and would be renamed "America at War. At the same time the Times laid off about 30 employees and also stopped printing a Saturday edition as cost saving measures. In August 2008, the Times announced it would outsource its printing operations to the publisher of The Baltimore Sun in order to avoid the expense of overhauling existing presses.

Notable current and former writers







Executives, editors and managers, present and past


Managing editors

  • Josette Sheeran Shiner (1992-1997)
  • William Giles (1997-2002)
  • Fran Coombs (2002-2008)
  • David W. Jones (2008-present)


Notes and references

External links

See also

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