Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 15 - The Washington Times Pioneers the End of the Cold War [Part 1 of 4]
Despotism by the Washington Post and the "Dictatorship of the Press"
During my time in the United States, I heard many things that left a deep impression on me. One statement stands out in particular: "If a newspaper like today's Washington Post or New York Times had existed at the time of the War of Independence, the United States, now the most powerful nation in the world, would have never even been born." This sentence sums up just how oppressive and overpowering the media are in American society today.
In both name and fact, the United States is very much a nation of free opinion, and its political world moves in accordance with public opinion. So who shapes and forms that public opinion? The media.
The problem here is that the United States has no law or other social authority that can control and regulate the media. Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution. The press, however, have taken that freedom and shaped it into unbridled license. Journalists think that they are excused no matter what they write. They espouse freedom of the press and pay no regard to the situations of others, because there is no overlord or master to hold them accountable. This situation has been referred to as "the dictatorship of the press," and under this despotic umbrella, all American politicians must dance to a rhythm dictated by the mass media.
This mass media is a huge force that shapes the destiny of nations and indeed the globe. In reality, however, mass media are shaped by business and financial interests. The mass media are just another product, the production of media services just another business. In other words, the media industry is simply a way of making money.
As a natural result, the media's primary concern is with how to create business enterprises that generate greater profits. If they want to create higher profits, they have to simply shut their eyes to all else and work on obtaining greater numbers of readers or viewers. Doing this means their articles have to be popular and amusing, and the broadcasting has to he stimulating. It should be obvious even to a high school student what kind of effect this creates.
Thus, the U.S. mass media have been virtually forced onto the path of sensationalism. Moreover, many media institutions around the world hold American media as their model and follow the same path. For them, the truth and the facts are not the main priority. The most important thing is how to attract the eyes and ears of the readers or audience. Naturally, the content of both articles and programming leans more and more to exaggeration and agitation. The more an article can surprise people and catch their attention, the better the article is deemed to be. On the other hand, the media need not take responsibility for the results of their articles or programming. They have become irresponsible, with the natural and predictable result that there are many victims.
One of the greatest casualties of the irresponsible media has been the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church.
The forces of international communism skillfully and meticulously sought to use the power of the mass media in their quest for world communization. Their covert activities have been particularly noticeable in this area, especially since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Many individuals who subscribe to leftist ideologies and a large number of liberals systematically infiltrated the important media organizations. The results were a U.S. media that became noticeably leftist and highly sympathetic to the communist cause, but not enough to arouse a groundswell of opposition by people of good sense. Leftists gained almost absolute power inside media organizations, thus obtaining a powerful weapon in the pursuit of their world communization strategy.
One of the media organizations under leftist control was the Washington Post. This newspaper fiercely attacked the staunchly conservative and anti-communist President Nixon day after day once the Watergate scandal broke out. Indeed, it was the Post that played the lead role in instigating the press of the day to pursue impeachment of the incumbent president, an impeachment that would have been a first in U.S. history. Virtually all the media in the United States followed its lead. The Post used this issue as a springboard and soon became a hugely influential newspaper, and Washington, D.C., capital of the United States, became a city groaning under the weight of this overwhelmingly powerful newspaper.
Indeed, the Washington Post had scored a brilliant victory. What other words can describe the feat of removing the incumbent president from office? For them, it was a great success. But the reality is that, by this action, they became one of the greatest allies of those forces of revolution that sought to communize the world. For this very reason, the Post earned the nickname "Pravda of the West." Pravda was the name of the official Communist Party press organ in Moscow. This nickname means that the Washington Post had become a Western-based press organ for the Soviet Union. Not only did it bring about losses to the national interests of the United States but it also became a ringleader of the forces that inflicted grave damage on the democratic free world. (For an example, see volume I, chapter 12, on the communization of Southeast Asia and the mass slaughter that followed the downfall of President Nixon.)
Reverend Moon was very aware of the media's controlling influence on society. That is why, in October 1978, he created the World Media Association (WMA) and installed me as chairman. At that time I was president of the News World daily newspaper in New York.
The WMA's mission is straightforward and simple: "To promote press freedom in places where it does not exist and to encourage the responsible use of that freedom where it does exist."
Reverend Moon believes that a responsible press has to be both ethically and morally strong and that those morals should be based on God's value system.
Prior to establishing the WMA, Reverend Moon had created the News World (later renamed the New York City Tribune) on December 31, 1976. His intention in establishing the paper was to set it up as an instrument in the fight against irresponsible media. The reason is obvious: If you want to fight against irresponsible media, you have to use the power of media to do it.
From the viewpoint of blocking the overwhelming influence of the American media industry, however, this valiant effort was much like throwing a pebble in the ocean or trying to fix a broken dam with a shovel.
It was in the intensely difficult circumstances of the late 1970s (described in chapter 14) that Ronald Reagan, a dedicated anti-communist, came onto the scene, riding on the tide of heavenly fortune.
Obviously, there was no way that the liberal and left-leaning press would welcome his appearance. Like starving wolves, they leapt at President Reagan, and myriad plots and subterfuges, all designed to create mistrust of the new president, sprang up like mushrooms after rain. Even Reagan, the man who had defiantly labeled the Soviet Union as "the evil empire," was no match for the onslaught. Soon he was on the defensive.
Founding a Conservative Newspaper
Then another setback took place, leading to greater difficulty. The Washington Evening Star, one of Washington's most notable publications, shut down operations after 128 years. This happened in August 1981, just months after Reagan took office. When the United States' only major conservative paper died, Reagan became all but powerless. As if to take full effect of this opportunity, the liberal media focused their attacks on Reagan. The conservative press had some responsibility to protect Reagan from these poison-laden articles, but by this time not one organization in all of Washington could fulfill that vital role. The Reagan administration was like an exposed castle surrounded by enemies, a castle without any walls.
Alarmed at this turn of events, the White House invited five of the most prominent leaders from powerful conservative financial groups in the United States to a meeting. The administration solicited their help in reviving the Star or else in creating another conservative daily newspaper. One by one, these leaders refused. The reason was very simple: There was no possible way to balance the books. Income would never cover the expenditures.
Before the Star went under, it was managed by Time Life Corporation, a giant in the publishing industry. Even so, the paper was losing money to the tune of $35 million a year, until finally Time Life had no choice but to declare the paper bankrupt. All the leaders of the major conservative financial organizations were well aware of this fact. They concluded that if Time Life were not able to keep a conservative paper running, there was not much hope that they could either, and they abandoned the idea altogether.
As I mentioned before, in the United States, the primary purpose in running a media organization is to make money. Unfortunately, there is a large divide between business management and patriotism. Moreover, these conservative business leaders didn't have much time or inclination to be concerned about world communization. The sad fact of the matter was that, in the incredibly rich United States, not one millionaire or billionaire was willing to save the United States and the world from the peril of communization at the time of the nation's crisis, even at the cost of his wealth.
Reverend Moon, after making so much effort to see Reagan elected, decided to simply observe the situation for the time being.
One day, he voiced his thoughts to me: "There has to be a true patriot somewhere in this vast country. After all, it is probably best for an American to make the newspaper. It also has to be done in a professional way. Someone will pop up from somewhere." But contrary to his expectation, no volunteer appeared.
The Washington Post made full use of this opportunity. To secure its hold on the Washington market and prevent anyone else from entering the playing field, the Post scooped up, at throwaway prices, the entire facilities of the now bankrupt Star, including the all important offset presses.
This wasn't because it needed the presses. Rather, purchasing them meant that anyone who might attempt to establish a paper in Washington would have to wait at least two to three years while new presses were ordered, built, and delivered. Any possibility of reviving the Star was thus completely blocked.
Finally, Reverend Moon said, "If things continue this way, the United States will fall. If the United States falls, the world will fall. How can we just stand by and watch? Even if we have to sacrifice the entire Unification Church, we have no choice but to make a VOC [victory over communism] daily newspaper in Washington. If something doesn't change, President Reagan will be suffocated and forced into a crippling situation." After communion with God, this became Reverend Moon's grim resolution.
On New Year's Day of 1982, which our church calls God's Day because we conduct a ceremony to begin the year together with God; Reverend Moon made the following announcement during his sermon:
I waited for a long time. And I prayed to God about what He wants me to do about Washington and what He wants me to do to save America. The answer was always the same. God always told me to create a conservative, victory-over-communism daily newspaper in Washington.
Publishing and running a newspaper is not the first or primary job of religion. In these emergency times, however, we cannot avoid taking up this mission. That's because this is the desire and Will of God. So I am declaring here on this God's Day that we will make a newspaper, one that can challenge the Washington Post and protect President Reagan. All Unification Church members around the world should now rise to this mission with every ounce of energy you possess!
The worldwide leadership of the Unification Church and the two thousand church members who had crowded into the hall cheered and applauded in response to this historical determination.
Reverend Moon continued:
Today I appoint Bo Hi Pak, who is currently president of the News World here in New York, as president of the daily we are going to make in Washington. The name of the paper will be the Washington Times. Bo Hi, I will also appoint two hundred of our members here today. Take them and the staff of the News World and go straightaway to Washington. You are starting as of today. Get the first edition out by March 1 [the anniversary of Korea's Samil independence movement] this year. OK?
Throughout the sermon, I was interpreting for Reverend Moon. Cold perspiration gathered on my brow in response to this completely unforeseen instruction. The sweat ran down my face.
With all my strength, I gave my response: "Yes!"
There were only fifty-eight days until March 1. We had not a single building, office, or desk in the city of Washington. Of course, we didn't have a printing press either. Anyone would have to agree that this was an impossible mission. Normally, it takes years for a large daily newspaper to publish its first edition. But God did not have the luxury of a large amount of time, and I understood well the situation we were in. I determined to do the impossible, by whatever sacrifice necessary.
At critical times like this, I always remembered Reverend Moon's basic direction: "Miracles are brought about by God, all for the glory of Heaven. You just worry about becoming God's instrument." When I thought about the heroic sentiment behind these words, I too became grim -- a grim determination for grim times. I thought to myself, "Let's go! Doesn't the Bible say, 'He who seeks to lose his life will gain it'?"
Once again, I went to Washington, determined to face even death. My mission was to create from scratch, in the capital of the United States, a daily newspaper worthy of going up against the Washington Post.
Fifty-eight Days to the Daily's First Edition
From that day we began to prepare to publish a newspaper. On January 2, I led our ground troops (church members) and staff members from the News World to Washington. It was the day after Reverend Moon had given his direction. I rented the basement of the National Press Club and set up a temporary office.
A huge warehouse, formerly the Parsons' paper factory located on the outskirts of Washington was purchased
for the site of the newspaper.
Except for the News World staff, most of the two hundred members I was in charge of had no prior connection with the newspaper industry. Some had never even read the New York Times or Washington Post. On the other hand, morale was high. Everyone was inspired, for we were on a sacred mission under the instruction of the Lord of Salvation. We all felt a great sense of dignity.
First of all, we needed a headquarters. If we bought land, it might take years to get the required permission and build a headquarters. I searched Washington for a large warehouse. Finally, I came across one belonging to a paper factory located on New York Avenue, just a short distance from downtown Washington.
Reverend Moon came to Washington to inspect the facility. He quickly decided to purchase it. However, even though it was a huge warehouse, there was nothing inside. At the time we started our operations, we were all sitting on the concrete floor.
The next thing we needed was printing facilities. Because we didn't have our own press, all we could do for the moment was to contract a printing house and borrow their facilities for our work.
When I think about it now, what was really amazing was that Washington Times, a truly impressive title, was available for us to use. If anyone else had copyrighted that title, we would have been unable to register it.
In American newspaper publishing circles, the most authoritative and respected names are Post and Times. Accordingly, in New York you have the New York Times and the New York Post. In Washington, you find the Washington Post but no Washington Times. It seemed impossible that no one was using this very impressive name.
But Reverend Moon had already declared the name of the paper as the Washington Times. When I checked it out, I got a big surprise. Somebody had owned the title the Washington Times, but the rights had expired that very year (1982), and now anyone was free to use the name! We were able to obtain this extremely valuable title without any cost whatsoever. I can state without hesitation that the first reason the Washington Times has been successful is because of this name. In every sense of the word, it is a truly precious name, worth millions, even billions. I thought, "How could our teacher have known about this?" To me, it was simply amazing. This was a gift from heaven, the first victory in our news-paper providence.
If anyone heard that the Unification Church was making a newspaper, he would probably say, "It will only be a religious newspaper." But if one reflected on Reverend Moon's vision and global strategy, it would become obvious that a simple religious newspaper would not suffice. A full-fledged daily newspaper was the only possible answer. In the best traditions of the American free and independent press, the public interest should take priority over corporate or partisan concerns. So the Times would be a secular newspaper like its competition. It had to be a broad-spectrum daily newspaper that could influence the U.S. political scene. And with that as the goal, we absolutely required an influential professional newspaperman as the editor in chief.
Preparations to launch a new newspaper.
In other words, this paper would have to be a conservative daily produced by newspaper professionals. We needed to put together a group of newspapermen and women and then share with them the vision of Reverend Moon. That was now our most pressing task.
I started searching the length and breadth of the country, looking for the right people. I felt sure that God had prepared the right personnel and that I would be able to find them. In this way, I eventually came across the man who would become our editor in chief. His name was James Whelan, and when I found him, he was editor of the Sacramento Times.
I flew directly to Sacramento, California, to petition Whelan. It took me three days to persuade him. Three times he refused me, and three times I went back to see him.
In the beginning he simply laughed. "Wait a minute. It's a joke, right? You're going to make a religious rag?" He didn't want to know about it in the least. But I used the three days to testify to Reverend Moon. In the end, he conceded that "Reverend Moon is truly working to save America and the world. I'll gladly throw myself into this work." His response made me think of the character Yubi, in Samkookchi. (Translator's note: Samkookchi is a Chinese classic well known throughout Northeast Asia. The author is referring to an episode where the character Yubi undergoes three days of effort to enlist the services of a notable general in his struggle to establish a kingdom.)
Reverend Moon, founder of the Washington Times, and Dr Pak wearing commemorative hats.
After he agreed to come onboard, I was able to recruit talented professionals in the media industry by ones and twos. I had a strong sense that the people who joined our paper in the very beginning were sent by God. We said we were going to build our paper, and they put their reputations on the line, believing in our vision. There was just one reason these people joined our project: They were confident that Reverend Moon would never exploit them or turn his back on them.
At that time we had nothing to show people. If there was one thing I could count as an asset, however, it was the spirit and mettle displayed by our Unification Church members. Their burning patriotic fervor to save the nation and world surprised anyone who observed them. Others quickly came to believe in the value of a cause they could work for together with these young people.
There is another reason we were able to gather purposeful and talented personnel: They were all patriots, carrying in their hearts a passionate concern for the future of America, and they were convinced that unless the U.S. capital was liberated from the despotic rule of the Washington Post, the United States had no future. If Reverend Moon was going to make a conservative paper in Washington, they were going to see that it succeeded no matter what, and this sense of mission was what moved them.
Finally, February 28 arrived. It was time to make the first publication, dated for March 1. We were unable to do the typesetting for the first edition in Washington, so we transmitted all the articles to New York and did the typesetting for the first copy of the Washington Times in the editorial offices of the News World. I went to New York and brought the newspaper negatives back to Washington overnight on a chartered light aircraft.
On that particular day, however, an unexpected snow-storm arose. The small airplane was shaken like a tiny dragonfly, and the windows were covered with snow, so that it was impossible to see outside. One time, the plane shook as if hopelessly in despair. As the perspiration trickled down my forehead, the shaking was so bad that I even thought to myself, "It looks like I'm going to die this time." I closed my eyes in prayer.
Loving God, please make sure this plane gets to Washington. Of course, I'm worried about my life, but the first copy of the Washington Times that I have on the seat beside me, isn't this Your instrument for changing the history of this world? We have to make sure this template makes it to our destination and see that it gets printed. Please consider the important mission of this newspaper and make sure our plane arrives safely. Amen.
The first edition of the Washington Times on March 1, 1982.
Thanks to God, my prayers were heard, and that's why I'm able to write these words.
After that eventful journey, we produced the prototype for the Washington Times. On the first page of the prototype, there were two impressive photographs, one of President Reagan and one of the Washington Monument, all cloaked in snow from the blizzard the night before.
So the Washington Times made its first appearance, like a newborn babe, in a Washington made clean and pure by a blanket of white snow. The date was March 1, 1982. It was a great victory, coming after only fifty-eight days since Reverend Moon determined to establish the newspaper.
The premier edition of the Washington Times, however, made its appearance in color on all the newspaper stands throughout the city on May 17. Accordingly, the anniversary of the establishment of the Washington Times has come to be considered May 17.
Actually, "daily newspaper" is a frightening set of words. Whether it rains or snows, whether a gale blows or a blizzard strikes, when the morning breaks, a daily paper has to be there on the stands. Once you start a daily, you cannot miss even one day. Otherwise, the newspaper loses the confidence and trust of society, and it is the trust of society that determines whether a paper is successful. Although I am not a trained newspaperman myself, if there is one thing I learned in the ten years I spent as president of the Washington Times Corporation, it is this one ironclad rule: "The social trust is something you have to earn for yourself. No one can just hand it to you."