E&P on 2000 Sale of UPI

Here's a May 22, 2000, story by Allan Wolper of Editor & Publisher on the sale of UPI:



De Borchgrave is Adamant that Moon Will be Arm's-Length Financial Backer

United Press International (UPI) CEO Arnaud de Borchgrave claims the Rev. Sun Myung Moon exerts less influence over The Washington Times than Katharine Meyer Graham used to exercise at Newsweek magazine.

Arnaud de Borchgrave

"We used to have these Tuesday meetings, and Katharine Graham was always there making suggestions," de Borchgrave said in a telephone interview from his UPI office in Washington. "That never happened when I was editor at The Washington Times, and it won't happen here now."

De Borchgrave was reacting to a March 16 business-page article in The Washington Post on the recent sale of financially challenged UPI to News World Communications, Inc., part of Moon's Unification Church. News World also owns The Washington Times.

De Borchgrave told E&P that when he was editor of The Washington Times, he got rid of several reporters who were "dead wood" and found out later they were members of Moon's Unification Church. "No repercussions or even discussions ensued," he said.

The Washington Post article by Yuki Noguchi reported that the "wire service's new owner is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon . . . the conservative voice behind the Times editorials.

The Washington Post news story has stirred up the Beltway. Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Washington Times, published a signed editorial the day after the Post article entitled "Response to a lie" in which he accused his rival of bad journalism and bad manners: "As the editor in chief of the Times (since 1972), I have sole responsibility and authority for every word that goes into the newspaper, guaranteed by my contract, which the owners have never tried to breach in any way."