Topic: The ConWeb
A few years back, we detailed how conservative newspapers lose massive amounts of money, staying in business only through the good graces of their deep-pocketed benefactors who made their money elsewhere. At the top of that list is the Washington Times, funded as a plaything for self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon to have entree to conservative Washington circles.
Well, last month the Times reported that "it achieved in September the first profitable month in its 33-year history, successfully transforming a traditional money-losing print publication into a leaner multimedia company with diverse revenue streams and a growing national audience."
Of course, print publications haven't been "traditionally money-losing" -- only the conservative ones have.
The Times plays rather coy about its historic financial situation, admitting that it piled up "losses that far exceeded $1 billion since its inception in 1982" and quoting Times president and CEO Larry Beasley quipping, "I know the owners can’t wait for us to pay them back."
Actually, the losses likely surpass $2 billion, a number forwarded by experts a decade ago. And there was never any expectation of a payback.
Article author Jennifer Harper also writes this:
The media landscape has been particularly unforgiving in recent years. Cutbacks, job losses and “newspaper death watches” have been the norm since 2009 as the Internet proved to be a profound game-changer in the news business. The Times went into reinvention mode, but never abandoned its original calling as a credible news source with a conservative backbone.
Harper avoids the actual history of the past few years at the Times that had little to do with the overall "media landscape" -- namely, that members of Moon's family got tired of paying the $35 million or so it took to keep the Times in business, setting off a power struggle in the Moon family and its Unification Church-linked business enterprises (not that the Times was actually run like a business, of course) that resulted in the paper being put up for sale in 2010. Ultimately, Moon himself bought the paper for $1.
Harper goes on to quote Beasley touting how the Times is "a digital-first business," but its website is so cluttered with ads and browser-clogging pop-ups that it's almost impossible to read.
Harper notes that the paper is now only by the nebulously, blandly named Operations Holdings, which appears to be a holding company for the business interests held by Moon himself when he died in 2012, an odd conglomeration of things besides the Times that include a fleet of fishing trawlers, New York's Hammerstein Ballroom and the New York TV studios where Al Jazeera -- longtime target of conservatives like the ones who run the Times for its purported closeness to Islamic terrorists -- has its New York headquarters.
Harper also repeatedly notes how "credible" a news source the Times is but she doesn't mention Moon's involvement in the paper until the 19th paragraph -- and she doesn't mention it was Moon's subsidies that kept the newspaper from feeling the effects of the free market it championed for nearly three decades.