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Sam Dealey is out as executive editor of the Washington Times to the surprise of no one who cares about these things. He’ll be succeeded in the meantime by managing editor Chris Dolan while the newspaper’s president Douglas Joo looks for a replacement. Dealey has yet to return my emails, but here’s the necessary context: During his year-long stint at the helm of the Times Dealey’s primary achievement was keeping the paper coming out every day and its few reporting jobs filled as a nasty and somewhat inscrutable power struggle within the Unification Church, which owns the paper, played itself out. The dispute, which was half a succession battle between Church founder Rev. Sung Myung Moon and his eldest son Preston Moon, and in part a battle for editorial control dating back to tensions between the newspaper’s old editors Wesley Pruden and Fran Coombs, whose staunchly anti-immigration editorial stances (and slightly subtler nostalgia for the Confederacy) rankled the paper’s Church leadership. (Many American Moonies are Korean and Japanese natives who entered the country illegally and achieved citizenship through marrying American church members chosen by the Rev. Moon in one of the mass weddings for which the church is famous, so illegal immigration is an issue close to its heart.)
When the disputes finally resolved themselves earlier this month—on election day, in fact—the old church leadership helmed by Douglas Joo, almost all of whom had been summarily fired last year in a coup orchestrated by a church member and former Times communications director Jonathan Slevin, was restored, along with the $40 million annual subsidy that had kept the paper running in normal times, before the paper was cut off last year. Dealey naturally clashed with the old management, which hadn’t hired him and also, hadn’t been around during the roughest period in newsroom history.
And why do the Moonies continue to shovel cash into the Times, which has lost an estimated $3 billion in church funds since they founded the paper in 1982? I attempted to shed some light on this enduring mystery in a lengthy November 5 cover story. But whatever the case, as I think you’ll see from the story, those billions laid the foundation of the modern conservative media. And while the Times may never make money, conservative punditry might never have become the lucrative occupation it is today without the Rev. Moon’s long history of loyal patronage.