The fact that the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, taught very unusual ideas did not stop the Christian Science Monitor from becoming – for a number of years – one of this nation’s most respected newspapers.
There was a widely rumored report that in accordance with one of Mother Eddy’s beliefs, the Monitor reported a battlefield “littered with passed-on horses.”
But the Monitor’s editor assured me, when I inquired, that that reportage, while admittedly amusing, had no basis in fact.
In like manner, the fact that the Washington Times was founded by ex-convict and cult leader Sun Myung Moon should not detract from the fact that this daily newspaper has become one of this nation’s most influential, and on Capitol Hill, most widely read daily newspapers.
This is a fact despite the many bizarre activities of the founder Moon, such as mass weddings and a one-time attempt to circumscribe editorial integrity.
On April 14, 1987, the Times editorial page editor, Bill Cheshire, saw an editorial sent back with orders for a rewrite with an entirely different conclusion. This was sent to him by a former South Korean government ambassador, who was in a different part of the Times building.
This and other such incidents led Cheshire and four other editorial writers to refuse to rewrite and to resign, as they walked out together.
This led to the saving of the Washington Times from deteriorating to the level of a house organ for Moon’s Unification Church. For apparently Moon heeded sage business advice that such editorial control would lead to the Times’ death, in loss of both subscribers and advertisers.
So, the Times promoted to executive editor one of the nation’s most deadly humorous polemicists, Wes Pruden of Arkansas. Pruden was given a contract of such ironclad guarantee of editorial control and freedom that he has remained a Mencken Reincarnate ever since – on every subject except the Times’ founder.
But how can the editor in chief of a daily newspaper write with any objectivity about the newspaper’s founder?
Pruden has frequently ordered that many of Moon’s more bizarre activities be reported in the Washington Times by independent wire services, such as the Associated Press. (Moon’s News World Corporation now owns United Press International.)
When Moon arranged to have himself actually crowned in the Dirksen U.S. Senate Office Building, this incredible proclamation of himself as “none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent” was, three months later, learned about by two other newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Both of these alleged newspapers of record have been repeatedly scooped by the Washington Times, which has often provided correctives to their errors and deliberate distortions.
Therefore, they front-paged the Sun-Myung-Moon-Senate-Office-Building-Coronation in their apparent effort to embarrass the Washington Times with the bizarre behavior of its founder.
Will either of these liberal dailies ever report Pruden’s contract guaranteeing editorial freedom?
That is not likely.