Five resign from Washington Times

Washington Post/April 15, 1987

Washington Times editorial page editor William P. Cheshire and four of his staff members resigned April 14, charging that Times editor-in-chief Arnaud de Brochgrave had allowed an executive of the Unification Church to dictate editorial policy. The Times is owned by News World Communications, Inc., a corporation affiliated with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's church.

"It is no longer possible, in my judgment, for the Times to maintain independence from the Unification Church under the editorship of Mr. de Borchgrave, if it is indeed at all," said Cheshire.

Cheshire said during a meeting that included de Borchgrave, the staff agreed on the substance of an editorial on the recent upheavals in South Korea. Cheshire's deputy, Michael Bonafield, said the editorial board planned to write that South Korean president Chun had "overplayed his hand and was acting in an autocratic manner" toward the opposition in his country.

After the conference, Cheshire said, de Borchgrave met privately with Sang Kook han, a Korean who is a high official in the UC and a top executive of the newspaper. After that meeting, Cheshire said, de Borchgrave changed his mind about the editorial and told Bonafield that "we were to support the president [Chun], that the opposition were flakes…"

"My senior staff and I did not consider his performance in keeping with our agreement on 'church-state' separation," Cheshire said. "We all agreed it represented an unambiguous and clear-cut intrusion of the church, at Mr. de Borchgrave's invitation, into the editorial direction of the newspaper."

De Borchgrave called Cheshire's charge that the U.C. was meddling in the paper's editorial policy "absolute nonsense." He insisted that Mr. Han "would never dare make an editorial suggestion to me" and that he had "never received a single editorial suggestion" from U.C. members.

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