WASHINGTON – The Washington Times, a daily launched in 1982 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, is set to lay off much of its editorial and production staff today, according to reputable sources within the paper.
The struggling paper, which reportedly has lost billions of dollars in its 27-year history, may be on the verge of a shutdown within 60 days. The paper may switch to a completely online format, according to insiders.
A WND message left with the newspaper Thursday morning requesting comment was not returned immediately.
In recent weeks, the paper lost its top editor, John Solomon, and two other top executives. Its editorial page editor, Richard Miniter, yesterday filed a claim against the paper for religious discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Miniter says he was “coerced” into attending a Unification Church religious ceremony in which a mass wedding was conducted by Moon.
In 2002, Moon told an assembly he was the messiah and the Second Coming of Christ, charged with fulfilling Jesus’ unfinished mission.
“The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world,” he said at the occasion of the Times’ 20th anniversary.
In January 2008, Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden retired and was replaced by Solomon, a veteran of the Associated Press and Washington Post. Shortly after, the paper announced it would stop using terms such as “illegal aliens” and “homosexual,” complying with the same standards of political correctness found at most other daily news organizations.
Solomon resigned last week without explanation.
The 60-day notices to be issued to employees tomorrow reportedly are in compliance with the so-called WARN Act. In 1989, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act was adopted to provide employees warning of plant closings and mass layoffs.
According to a “note from the publisher” posted on the newspaper’s website today, acting President and Publisher Jonathan Slevin publicly forecasts “changes.”
“I anticipate that the coming weeks and months will bring additional changes to The Washington Times, yet rest assured that no matter what changes occur, we will continue to maintain the same spirited reporting on our news pages and online, and a robust alternative voice on our opinion pages.”