Ilankai Tamil Sangam

23rd Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Mooning the Washington Times

by K. Annan

The Washington Post is the most authorative and respected Washington-based newspaper, whereas the current Washington Times is a recent creation that has little or no repectability or credibilty among the mainstream media in the United States.

Lately the Washington Times has been publishing articles and editorials that have been critical of the LTTE and the Tamil independence movement. The articles have been widely quoted in the ethnic and mainstream Sinhala media. Many readers who are not familiar with the American media landscape often tend to confuse the phony credentials of the Washington Times with a previously existing paper of the same name.

The original Washington Times that was establisheded in 1893 later became the Washington Times-Herald. In 1954, the Washington Times-Herald  was purchased by the Washington Post, bringing the publishing era of a media icon to an end. The Washington Post, incidentally, is the most authorative and respected Washington-based newspaper, whereas the current Washington Times is a recent creation that has little or no repectability or credibilty among the mainstream media in the United States.

Rev. Sun Myung Moon The current paper named The Washington Times has a short history with no links to its historic namesake that is now defunct. The current Washington Times was founded in 1982 by Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church. For those who are not familiar with the Church, there is ample information on the Internet, often more negative than positive in their coverage of the Unification Church.  The followers of Reverend Moon, incidentally, are referred to in general conversation as the 'Moonies.'  

Some view The Washington Times as promoting the interest of the Church and the political ambitions of Reverend Moon. Overall, it is a money-losing media operation with the Unification Church said to have spent nearly $1.7 billion dollars of its own money up until 2002 to keep the paper afloat.

The Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) watchdog group in the US has stated that the Church exerts significant influence on the paper. The newspaper has been featured in numerous reports for its alleged bias and politically-motivated news doctoring. Several analyses of the news stories reported in the Washington Times can be found in Salon.com and The Daily Howler, where a series of factual errors and examples of bias in the paper's news coverage are documented.

A prominent author, David Brock, who worked for the Washington Times’ sister publication, Insight, has some harsh words for the Washington Times. In his book entitled Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, he has stated that the Washington Times was governed by a calculatedly unfair political bias and that its journalistic ethics were close to nil.

The Washington Times’ controversies do not stop with the paper. It extends to implicate its founder, the Reverend Moon. Moon, who visited Sri Lanka for the first time in November 24, 2005, is embroiled in a web of misdoings. As the Internet is filled with reports of Moon’s questionable activities, only those that are relevant to the Tamil freedom fight are quoted here.

Perhaps the most damaging of all of Moon’s misdoings is the involvement of one of Reverend’s businesses in the manufacturing of arms. According to a U.S. Congressional Report on the Unification Church, one of  Moon’s business organizations is said to be “an important defense contractor in Korea. It is involved in the production of M-16 rifles, antiaircraft guns, and other weapons."  The report further said that "[o]f particular concern is the Moon Organization’s involvement in the production and sale of M-16 rifles and other weapons provided to Korea under U.S. aid programs and subject to the Arms Export Control Act. In late 1977, Moon Organization representatives tried to renegotiate a coproduction agreement between Colt Industries and the ROK (Republic of Korea) Government. The circumstances suggested they were secret envoys of the Korean Government which, under the coproduction agreement, has exclusive control over M-16 production. Although the ROK Government said it wanted to produce 300,000 extra M-16’s because of the need to equip its own forces, Moon Organization tried to get Colt’s agreement to export guns to third countries.”

In another report, Congressional investigator Robert Boettcher wrote in his book, Gifts of Deceit: Sun Myung Moon, Tongsun Park, and the Korean Scandal, that congressional investigators uncovered breathtaking financial misdoings, including a scheme to raise money for a church public-relations fund that disguised itself as a fundraiser for sick children.

Arguably the most damaging of all of Moon's misdeeds is the conviction of Reverend Moon in 1982 by the US government for willfully filing false federal income tax returns. He was convicted and sentenced to spend 13 months in prison at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT.

The Sinhala nation has now found yet another ally in Reverend Moon’s Washington Times for news peddling and for prosecuting its immoral war against the Tamils. It is yet another addition to its arsenal of media holdings complementing its centerpiece, namely the family-owned and operated media outlet The Hindu.

Separation for the Tamils now is no more a question of racial persecution. It is now a moral issue. Armed with the knowledge and the vast human resources spread around the world, the Tamils can effectively counter the propaganda machinery of the failed Sinhala state. In this context, making an effort to freely distribute, disseminate and discuss the information presented here and elsewhere at every opportunity and at every social and official gathering by the Tamil Diaspora would be an effective countermeasure to the failed state’s propaganda machinery.

Note: This analysis was based largely on the following two reports published in Wikipedia.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Post  

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Myung_Moon 

Note: Some parts of this article have been reproduced verbatim from these reports. The credit for the information presented in this article is due to Wikipedia. The news service UPI is now also owned by Moon’s group that runs the Washington Times. Neither one is quoted by the mainstream media in the US and both routinely publish biased news about the LTTE.

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A critique on TamilCanadian concerning the same Washington Times article with interesting comments.