In January 1992, PBS Frontline broadcast a film I directed that documented the amazing rise, fall and subsequent resurrection of Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church movement. The documentary showed how, through an adroit combination of money, media and the consistent promotion of a conservative political agenda, a self-styled Messiah and convicted felon had rapidly reinvented himself and was soon hailed at the White House.
At the time, few Americans paid much attention to Reverend Moon -- and those that did had bizarre recollections of him and the "Moonies," as his followers once called themselves: mass weddings of complete strangers, flower-peddling in the street, and repeated allegations of mind control and brainwashing.
Even back then, Moon's movement, once labeled a cult, was more accurately described as a conglomerate. As my film stated, "From media operations in the nation's capital... To substantial real estate holdings throughout the United States... And from large commercial fishing operations... To advanced high-tech and computer industries, a Fifth Avenue publishing house, and literally dozens of other businesses, foundations, associations, institutes, and political and cultural groups... Moon and his money have become a force to be reckoned with."
One of the primary vehicles for Moon's rising power and influence was the daily newspaper the Washington Times now back in the news because of the mysterious departure of its top executives, and facing an uncertain future.