Rise & Fall of The Washington Times: The Ex-Nazis, Cocaine Smugglers & Cultists Who Created a Right-Wing Propaganda Organ, And Brought It Crashing Down
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In 2000, the Washington Times was at the center of the assault on Al Gore’s candidacy – highlighting apocryphal quotes by Gore and using them to depict him as either "Lyin' Al" or delusional. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “ Al Gore vs. the Media.”]
Aiming at Obama
The intervention by Moon’s media outlets into U.S. presidential politics continued into Campaign 2008 when Moon’s online magazine Insight tried to sabotage Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign before it even got started.
The Insight article cited opposition research supposedly dug up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that Obama had attended a fundamentalist Muslim “madrassa” while a child and had sought to conceal his allegiance to Islam.
“He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” a source supposedly close to Clinton’s background investigation of Obama told Insight. “The idea is to show Obama as deceptive.”
Insight used no named sources for the allegations, nor did the magazine check out the facts about the school.
After Moon’s online magazine published the “madrassa” story, it quickly spread to the wider audiences of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing media outlets, Fox News and the New York Post, and then into the mainstream press. To further the subliminal link between Obama and Islamic terrorism, the New York Post ran its story under the headline “‘Osama’ Mud Flies at Obama.”
“The allegations are completely false,” said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. “To publish this sort of trash without any documentation is surprising, but for Fox to repeat something so false, not once, but many times is appallingly irresponsible.”
Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson termed the Insight article “an obvious right-wing hit job by a Moonie publication that was designed to attack Senator Clinton and Senator Obama at the same time.” [ Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2007]
When CNN checked out the Insight article on Jan. 22, 2007, the story collapsed. The Indonesian school that Obama attended as a child turned out not to be some radical “madrassa” where an extreme form of Islam would be taught, but a well-kept public school in an upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jakarta.
The boys and girls wore school uniforms and were taught a typical school curriculum today as they were 39 years ago when Obama was a student there, while living with his mother in Indonesia, reported CNN correspondent John Vause.
While most of the school’s students are Muslim – Indonesia is a Muslim country, after all – Vause reported that the religious views of other students are respected and that Christian children at the school are taught that Jesus is the son of God.
Though this Moon-financed propaganda may have been debunked, the subliminal doubt was planted about whether Obama might be a secret agent of radical Islam, a theme that has continued to resonate within the right-wing media and the Tea Party movement.
Now, however, it appears that the days of Moon’s news outlets initiating or circulating smears against political enemies may finally be nearing an end. What ultimately has caused the decline of Moon’s money machine – besides the infighting of Moon’s children – remains a mystery, at least to outsiders.
It’s possible that Moon’s lucrative connections to the netherworld of right-wing extremism, drugs and money simply were dependent on his personal relationships – and as they died off, so did his ability to access those financial channels.
It’s possible, too, that the value of Moon’s propaganda operation has been eclipsed by less problematic right-wing media moguls and self-made talk-show hosts who are now rich themselves.
Though Moon played a key early role in building the right-wing echo chamber, other wealthy individuals, from media titan Rupert Murdoch to newly minted multi-millionaires like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, can carry on quite well without the help of a Korean theocrat who thinks he’s the new Messiah.