MEDIA
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Washington Times Depends On $40M Subsidy From Unification Church, Says Ex-Editor

As previously noted, TPM's Justin Elliott has been regularly reporting on the ongoing insanity over at The Washington Times, which is going through its own internal version of a 2012 disaster movie. Firings! Recriminations! Armed guards roaming the hallways! All of this is actually happening, as the family of owner Sun Myung Moon stages its own bizarre version of King Lear.

Adding to all of these woes is a lawsuit filed by ex-editorial page editor Richard Miniter, who accuses his former employer of discrimination.

Elliott obtained Miniter's affidavit in the case and it is every bit as awesome as you would imagine. Of particular interest is the revelation that the newspaper "relies on a roughly $40 million annual subsidy from the Unification Church and cannot survive without that subsidy, which is paid in weekly amounts."

By means of comparison, Miniter states that the Times receives less than $37 million in revenue from advertising and circulation, while laying out $70 million annually. So, that weekly Moonie allowance is pretty important!

But you've probably come here for the weird religious stuff, right? OKAY, THEN:

21. McDevitt told me that "It would be good for you to go." I took this to mean that if I didn't go, it would count negatively against my prospects at The Washington Times and of being offered permanent executive employment there.

22. I knew that McDevitt was a member of the Unification Church and that his religion was important to him. A large, Mao-like portrait of Rev. Moon hung above his desk and a billboard-sized Korean-language calligraphy, written by Rev. Moon, hung in the executive conference room. While these Moon relics were only seen by senior executives, I knew they had personal significance to McDevitt. At first, I considered this artwork to be a sign of personal and private religious devotion, like an Advent calendar tacked to someone's cubicle, and not a sign that the Church would interfere in the "editorial independence" that editors were promised.

Ha ha, no. Actually, after Miniter "joked to his deputy about Moon's long, flowing garb in a church brochure," the paper launched an internal investigation, and subsequently "asked him to work from home."

I have to imagine that Justin Elliott's new TPM colleague, the late-of-the-Washington Times Christina Bellantoni, is going to have a particularly meaningful Thanksgiving holiday!

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