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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Bush’s speech was so effusive that it surprised even Moon’s followers.
“Once again, heaven turned a disappointment into a victory,” the Unification News exulted. “Everyone was delighted to hear his compliments. We knew he would give an appropriate and ‘nice’ speech, but praise in Father’s presence was more than we expected. ... It was vindication. We could just hear a sigh of relief from Heaven.”
While Bush’s assertion about Moon’s Washington Times as a voice of “sanity” may be a matter of opinion, Bush’s vouching for its editorial independence simply wasn’t true. Almost since it opened in 1982, a string of senior editors and correspondents have resigned, citing the manipulation of the news by Moon and his subordinates.
The first editor, James Whelan, resigned in 1984, confessing that “I have blood on my hands” for helping Moon’s church achieve greater legitimacy.
But Bush’s boosterism was just what Moon needed in South America.
“The day after,” the Unification News observed, “the press did a 180-degree about-turn once they realized that the event had the support of a U.S. President.” With Bush’s help, Moon had gained another beachhead for his worldwide business-religious-political-media empire.
After the event, Menem told reporters from La Nacion that Bush had claimed privately to be only a mercenary who did not really know Moon. “Bush told me he came and charged money to do it,” Menem said. [La Nacion, Nov. 26, 1996]
But Bush was not telling Menem the whole story. By fall 1996, Bush and Moon had been working in political tandem for at least a decade and a half. The ex-President also had been earning huge speaking fees as a front man for Moon for more than a year.
Throughout these public appearances for Moon, Bush’s office refused to divulge how much Moon-affiliated organizations have paid the ex-President. But estimates of Bush’s fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000.
Sources close to the Unification Church told me that the total spending on Bush ran into the millions, with one source telling me that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million from Moon’s organization.
The senior George Bush may have had a political motive, too. By 1996, sources close to Bush were saying the ex-President was working hard to enlist well-to-do conservatives and their money behind the presidential candidacy of his son, George W. Bush. Moon was one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles.
Moon’s pattern of putting into Bush family causes continued into George W. Bush’s presidency. In 2006, Moon again used money-laundering techniques to funnel a donation to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Moon’s Washington Times Foundation gave $1 million to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which in turn acted as a conduit for donations to the library. The Chronicle obtained indirect confirmation that Moon’s money was passing through the Houston foundation to the Bush library from Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath.
“President Bush has been very grateful for the friendship shown to him by the Washington Times Foundation, and the Washington Times serves a vital role in Washington,” McGrath said.
But Moon has earned the deepest gratitude of the Bush Family and the Republican Party via his multi-billion-dollar investment in the Washington Times, a powerful propaganda organ that helped the GOP build its political dominance over the past quarter century.
Over those years, the Times has targeted American politicians of the Center and Left with journalistic attacks – sometimes questioning their sanity, as happened with Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. Those themes then resonated through the broader right-wing echo chamber and often into the mainstream media.