1. Building a Media Network

Ronald Reagan holding a copy of the News World, which predicted Reagan's landslide victory on Election Day morning, November 4, 1980
Certain policies pursued by President Ronald Reagan in his efforts to end the Cold War stalemate met opposition and derision in the establishment media. The President's effort to follow through on President Jimmy Carter's commitment to deploy ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershing II intermediate range missiles in Western Europe resulted in media criticism and a storm of protests in both America and Europe. President Reagan's advocacy of the Strategic Defense Initiative was derisively referred to as "star wars" in the press and viewed as destabilizing the delicate balance of power, thus escalating the threat of nuclear war. Reagan's support of the Nicaraguan contras met with decided opposition as did his description of the Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire."

The Washington Times was crucial in coverage of the Cold War
The international media network created by Rev. Moon helped to demonstrate the viability of the Reagan Doctrine and had an impact on key congressional votes. It also affected public opinion and the establishment media's coverage of Cold War issues. Of the media projects undertaken by Rev. Moon in the United States (which include The New York City Tribune, New York's Spanish-language newspaper Noticias del Mundo, and Insight Magazine, among others), the founding of The Washington Times (1982) was certainly the most significant. The Times broke key news stories on Soviet bloc operations, and sometimes brought to the front pages vital Cold War issues which newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post chose to bury on back pages.
12 The Times highlighted Soviet human rights violations, did expansive features on the public relations and lobbying activities of left-leaning organizations such as the Christic Institute and the Institute for Policy Studies, and frequently reported on the Soviets' nuclear build-up and their sizeable military and logistic aid to national liberation movements in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Within the first three years of its existence, The Washington Times became one of America's most quoted newspapers.13

Three issues help to illustrate the Times' role in the Cold War: Nicaragua, Gorbachev and the U.S. Congress, and SDI.

Pedro Chamorro of the Nicaraguan Resistance addressing a CAUSA Seminar
a. Nicaragua
One area of notable coverage was on the anticommunist insurgency in Nicaragua known as the Contras. The Washington Times' investigations and reportage lent credence to executive and legislative efforts to support that Nicaraguan Resistence in its commitment to derail that country's move into the Soviet-Cuban sphere of influence. For example, from April 8 to 12, 1985, just prior to a crucial Congressional vote on providing support to the Nicaraguan contras, the Times ran a five-part expose on how Leftist grassroots networks were pressuring the U.S. Congress to abandon the freedom fighters.
14 When on April 24, 1985, the U.S. Congress voted down a bill to provide $14,000,000 in humanitarian aid to the Nicaraguan resistance, dealing a major geopolitical setback to the Reagan administration, The Washington Times took the U.S. Congress to task, announcing on May 6, 1985 its establishment of an infrastructure to seek private humanitarian funding for the contras.15 The Times also announced its decision to provide the first $100,000 seed money for the project. Co-chaired by Jeane Kirkpatrick, William Simon, Midge Decter and Michael Novak, the Times-initiated Nicaraguan Freedom Fund became national news-much to the discomfiture of the Congress.16 In its news coverage, the Times contrasted the Congressional negative vote with the subsequent trip by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega Saavedra to Moscow, April 28-29, 1985 to secure additional Soviet aid, and it also reported on new shipments of Soviet military supplies to Nicaragua.17 The Times' strong focus continued until the Congress reversed its position in June, resulting in a new $27,000,000 commitment of humanitarian assistance to the Nicaraguan resistance.18 American aid to the contras, as well as the provision of stinger missiles to the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan which the Times also strongly supported, were decisive factors in the eventual wearing down of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and in the Soviet decision to abandon Afghanistan.

b. Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)
On November 1, 1983, The Washington Times did a high profile, full-color article on this space-based anti-missile system and on one of the projects' key supporters, Lt. General Daniel O. Graham.
19 In its editorial policy, the Times rigorously and frequently advocated the system's development.20 Indeed, when President Reagan unveiled SDI in a March 23, 1983 TV address, the Times editorialized that this address was "maybe President Reagan's best ever," stated that the idea of a space-based shield has "had our interest and support for months" and cited its potential leverage in future arms negotiations.21 This advocacy can be contrasted with the position of The New York Times, which strongly called for restraints on SDI's development.22 Reflecting the debate of the time, The New York Times further denigrated both the program and Reagan's position on its development and deployment with such terminology as "a pipe dream, a projection of fantasy into politics," "science fiction," and "dangerous folly," and concluded that Reagan left the impression that SDI is "a harebrained adventure that will induce a ruinous race in both offensive and defensive arms."23 Regardless of U.S. internal debate on SDI's efficacy, the fact remains that President Reagan's unswerving commitment to this program (and the support of publications such as The Washington Times) contributed to a shift in the Soviet Union's handling of the nuclear issue vis-a-vis the United States.24

c. Gorbachev and the U.S. Congress
In November of 1987, The Washington Times ignited a nationwide controversy which resulted in a rescinding of plans to have Mikhail Gorbachev be the first communist leader to address a joint meeting of Congress. This privilege had previously only been extended to foreign dignitaries who were strong allies of the United States such as Lafayette, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterand. Nonetheless, the White House and Democratic congressional leaders apparently had negotiated behind the scenes to afford this honor to President Gorbachev on December 9, during the Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Washington, D.C. The Washington Times' breaking of this story (first broached on November 13 and headlined on November 17), and its follow-up coverage and editorializing helped to generate a furor among conservative lawmakers.
25 The swelling chorus of opposition led the White House and the congressional supporters of the invitation to begin backpedaling by November 20 and to totally abandon plans for the address by November 22. In the months following this public embarrassment, President Gorbachev took a number of steps, including his announcement to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan, which clearly established glasnost as more than a political ploy.

That the Times would play such a pronounced role in the Cold War was apparently intuited by affected parties from its inception. Neither the Soviet nor the Chinese governments allowed the Times to open a news bureau in their capitals. The radical left newsletter Overthrow in its June/July 1982 issue called for sabotage of The Washington Times26, and the Times was subjected to frontal attacks in leftist publications such as CovertAction and CounterSpy.27 On the other hand, it was reported that Ronald Reagan made a practice of reading The Washington Times every morning28 and The Washington Times was credited with certain of President Reagan's responses to critical foreign policy issues, including the 1985 forced landing and apprehension of Palestinian terrorists responsible for the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and the cold-blooded murder of American businessman Leon Klinghoffer.29

d. The Washington Times' Impact on other World Media
The impact of Rev. Moon's Washington Times extended to the news disseminated worldwide, including in communist and frontline countries. In 1988, Nobel peace laureate Oscar Sanchez Arias, then president of Costa Rica, a country bordering on Nicaragua, told the American Society of Newspaper Editors that Costa Rican newspapers depended on The Washington Times for news of their world. He went on to say that the only American newspaper Costa Rican citizens know exists is The Washington Times, and that if Costa Rican newspapers published something from the U.S. it was from the Times.
30 In 1990, future Nicaraguan President Violeta Chamorro Barrios, owner of La Prensa, the only daily newspaper which dared to defy Nicaragua's Sandinista government, confided to The New York Times' editorial board that the Sandinistas themselves regarded The Washington Times as "the newspaper of the Nicaraguan opposition."31

Throughout the 1980's the World Media Association (WMA), a media-related organization associated with The Washington Times, provided journalists from numerous publications with first- hand exposure to numerous vortices of the Cold War. In 1983, WMA brought 155 journalists, from 55 countries, to visit sites on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras, including refugee camps and the track known as "Blood Alley" which two days after the Media Association tour was the site where Sandinista solders killed two American journalists. That same year, journalists were brought to Europe by WMA to report on the Nuclear Freeze Movement and afforded the opportunity to cover the October 22 massive demonstration in Bonn against NATO's planned deployment of Euromissiles. During the same tour, a side visit to East Berlin by WMA allowed journalists to observe a plethora of East German posters opposing the deployment of US cruise missiles, and a total absence of any criticism against the presence of Soviet SS 20's on East German territory.

American journalists sponsored by the World Media Association visit the Soviet Union

In 1984, WMA sponsored a journalist fact-finding tour focusing on the Southeast Asia front lines, including a trek inside communist Kampuchea to meet with leaders of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front who were resisting the large Vietnamese military presence in their country. Other fact-finding trips included encounters with leaders of RENAMO, UNITA, SWAPO and Solidarity. The WMA tours, which often also included meetings with heads of state and detailed government briefings, provided journalists access to first-hand information on the status of communism, largely validating the salience of the Reagan Doctrine.