Washington, DC October 4, 2012 – A red, white and blue backdrop sparkled with hundreds of silver stars, flags waved on both sides, and large television screens assured that the over 600 attendees could see everything that took place, last night in the ballroom of the Wardman Park Marriott Hotel. It was the time for subscribers, employees and staff, community leaders and advertisers in the industry to recognize the 30th anniversary of The Washington Times, which began publication in October of 1982, when the Washington Evening Star ceased publication.
The evening was a first rate success, from the ever-flowing trays of hors d’oeuvres in the reception hall and the equally flowing bars, to a banquet dinner fit for a king, featuring Duer 72 hour braised Beef Short Rib and Chermoula Rubbed Sea Bass with red curry sauce.
The evening was introduced by Thomas P. McDevitt, President of The Times, who in turn presented the emcee for the evening, Fox News contributor and newsman John Stossel.
Stossel said that in 1982 when The Times began, there was no internet, no Facebook, no twitter and other recent innovations in communications, but then as now, “excellent journalism still matters, and the Times readers are the smartest people in the nation!” Saying that the Times was begun in order that the nation’s capital might be able to cut through the bias that existed with only one paper, [so] that Washington could be the “shining city upon the Hill.”
After Ms. Maggie Gallagher who had led one of the symposia during the day gave a brief rundown of the subjects covered, a ten minute video was shown, showing former Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, historian Peggy Noonan and former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and their comments regarding the prominence of the time.
Krista Branch, a young singer and American Idol winner, sang two of her famous songs, I’m Am America and Can You Hear Us Now?, competing with the heavy sound speakers but still sounding lovely.
The keynote address was a standout one by Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, who acknowledged his own background began working for a newspaper in Coronado, CA on VJ Day (Victory in Japan), and that he had literally grown up in and with newspapers. He compared life today with family life when he was growing up, some 80 years ago, when the family sat around together in the living room to watch television together at a time when there was no Drudge Report, no MSNBC, and no Fox News, but he had seen a notice about the coming paper and that “there was a new team in town.”
Rumsfeld acknowledged he read both newspapers at that time, looking for an accurate reporting of the truth and two sides of an issue and that “when the news needed ‘calibration,’ I let them know about it too.
He also emphasized the many contributions made by The Times’ Founder, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon, who passed away just a month ago in Korea, and whose primary goal was bringing peace to the world, as well as building a world-class media company in the nation’s capital to provide fearless reporting and championing American values.
Mr. Rumsfeld was properly critical of the present administration and its failures, reminding those present of the coming election and that it is “the responsibility of election which falls on all of us equally….only our leaders can stand in the way of America’s rendezvous with the future.”
He added that he felt the present administration “dismisses the work effort, replacing personal responsibility with envy.” He criticized the president’s comments to various world leaders, but acknowledged that he did rid the world of two leaders who were not good ones,
He commented on the President’s trip to Cairo in 1999, how he ignored the ideology of the area where “violent men stood ready to attack the innocent” and that while the people slept, “Muslims took over control of the area since they “were the strongest and the best organized.” He said that “he has sent an unambiguous message that we are a nation in decline, not a strong nation,” and that as a weak enemy, we are not to be respected.
He also contrasted what he called the “bloated Defense budget” which has diminished since the days of Presidents Johnson and Kennedy from 10% of the gross product to the current 4%. He expressed his concern on our spending for national security, and said he would “welcome a critique of the policies of the last four years – someone should do it.” He also mentioned that cyber warfare tools are unconfirmed in the liberal press by the President’s staff, and no one takes them to task for it. He reminded the group that “a person can start a false rumor in a blog, and in a minute it has gone around the world” thanks to today’s technology.
He said that with a newspaper such as The Times, “we can cure falsehoods, puncture a myth, tell the truth, influence and inform, with a commitment to the facts and to integrity” in the world today. Mr. Rumsfeldt’s remarks brought strong applause from the audience.
Dr. Douglas D. M. Joo as the Founder’s representative then introduced Rev. Hyung Jin Moon to deliver the address on behalf of the Founder. A slight young man of 33, Rev. Moon remarked that at his age, he had “read The Washington Times all of my life!” Saying that in that early time, Communism was the great fear, “crisis was perilous,” and that his father had “helped The Washington Times to be a fearsome voice of family, faith, freedom and service,” precepts that his father believed strongly.
Talking of his father’s one-time imprisonment by North Korea, and later having to face his captor, Rev. Moon said that “communism is the enemy of God,” and that “Freedom is given by God and not by governments.”
After a standing ovation for the address, John Stossel called Ms. Branch back to the stage, and the evening ended with the audience singing “God Bless America.” It had been an evening to remember, as The Washington Times – America’s newspaper - heads into its second thirty years.
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