Rev. Moon, Times founder, dies at 92

Led religious movement to help promote world peace

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    Opinion polls predicted a close election, but Rev. Moon’s confidence was reflected by the News World, a New York newspaper that he founded in 1976. On Election Day 1980, the News World rolled off the press with a giant headline predicting “Reagan Landslide.”

    At a news conference that morning, Mr. Reagan held up the News World’s front page, an image carried across the country by television reports. When the votes were counted, the Republican had won 489 of 538 Electoral College votes, more than matching the bold prediction.

    Going to print

    The News World, renamed the New York City Tribune in 1983, was Rev. Moon’s first venture into the American press, and in 1978, he established the World Media Association dedicated to promoting freedom of the press. When The Washington Star went bankrupt in 1981, Rev. Moon thought it was important to ensure that the nation’s capital remained a two-newspaper city.

    Mr. Pak, who was then publisher of the News World, recalled that on Jan. 1, 1982, Rev. Moon ordered him to establish a daily to be named The Washington Times — to begin publication by March 1.

    This seemed “an impossible mission,” Mr. Pak remembered.

    Recruiting veteran editor James Whelan and purchasing a warehouse on New York Avenue that is still the newspaper’s headquarters, Mr. Pak was able to get a debut issue of The Times printed by Rev. Moon’s deadline of March 1. A little more than two months later, on May 17, 1982, The Times published its second issue and began regular daily publication.

    One analyst predicted that the new daily would not “last more than six months,” but according to Mr. Pak, Rev. Moon invested more than $1 billion in The Times during its first 10 years of publication, and Unification Church members — including many with no previous newspaper experience — worked tirelessly with seasoned professional journalists to make it a success.

    During its first 10 years of publication, The Times won more than 650 awards, including top honors from the Society of Newspaper Design in 1988 and 1992, and an editorial writing award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1989.

    A favorite of Republican leaders (Reagan insisted on reading The Washington Times first thing in the morning at the White House), the newspaper scored scoops with its award-winning coverage of congressional scandals and the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s.

    The Washington Times is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

    Over the years, Rev. Moon was associated with a number of other publications, including the Segye Ilbo in Korea, Sekai Nippo in Japan, the Spanish-language weekly Tiempos del Mundo in Argentina, the Middle East Times in Cairo, Ultimas Noticias in Uruguay, and Washington Golf Monthly.

    In 2000, News World Communications purchased the United Press International wire service. A weekly newsmagazine, Insight on the News, and a monthly magazine, The World and I, ceased publication in 2004, but continued as online publications.

    ‘Victory Over Communism’

    Throughout the 1980s, Rev. Moon actively promoted opposition to communism, a struggle he saw in religious terms.

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    About the Author
    Cheryl Wetzstein

    Cheryl Wetzstein

    Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

    Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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