Major media ignore ties connecting Bush to Unification church
By Norman Solomon
When George Bush jumped out of an airplane last spring, his skydiving feat was big news. But this countrys media outlets have failed to inform the public about far more important activities by the former president.
Last November, four months before his leap with a parachute, Bush traveled to South America where he provided a major boost for the launch of a newspaper that belongs to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Since leaving the White House, Bush has been quite helpful to Moon. However, the news media have lacked curiosity about Bushs ties to the shadowy power-broker who heads the Unification church. Moons global empire combines cult-like authority over Moonies with extensive media holdings.
President Bush has no relationship with Rev. Moon or the Unification church, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath assured me in a recent interview. But the facts tell a very different story.
On Nov. 23, 1996, Bush walked to the podium at the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and deliver a speech to 900 guests invited by Moon to celebrate the opening of his regional daily paper, Tiempos del Mundo. As Moon beamed a few feet away, Bush lauded his host.
I want to salute Rev. Moon, who is the founder of The Washington Times and also of Tiempos del Mundo, Bush said. He praised the Washington newspaper for fostering sanity -- and added that Moons new paper in Argentina is going to do the same thing.
The 15-yearold Washington Times doesnt rank among the top 100 U.S. dailies in circulation. Yet, financed by the Unification churchs deep pockets, it wields enormous influence in the nations capital. Elevating innuendo into news, the paper excels at smearing liberals and centrists.
During the last couple of years, Bush has spoken at high-profile Moon events on three continents. He went to Asia in September 1995, giving several speeches for a group led by Moons wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. In Tokyo, Bush addressed a gathering of 50,000 Moon followers. Ten months later, in Washington, Bush spoke at a Moon-sponsored conference.
Instead of growing, press attention to Bushs links to Moon has gone from scant to almost nonexistent. Bushs role in Buenos Aires last fall barely got reported in the United States.
But former Newsweek correspondent Robert Parry has shone some light with an extensive report, The Dark Side of Rev. Moon in I.F. Magazine, A new periodical named in memory of the late I.F. Stone and George Seldes (the editor of the muckracking newsletter In Fact).
A few samples of of Parrys findings:
What Moon seeks to accomplish with his riches is chilling to consider. As Frederick Clarksons book Eternal Hostility (Common Courage Press, 1997) explains, Unification church operatives have been close to neofascist movements all over the world.
Here in the United States, it ramains to be seen whether the national media will finally focus on the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his tacit alliance with George Bush.
An important question about American journalism hovers in the air: Whos afraid of the Rev. Moon?
Norman Solomon is a syndicated columnist. His book Wizards of Media Oz: Behind the Curtain of Mainstream News (coauthored with Jeff Cohen) has just been published by Common Courage Press.
National Catholic Reporter, September 12, 1997