Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times of London appears to be hiding key facts in an article 18th February 2023 headlined “PM’s murder shatters Moonie dream of linking Japan and Korea”.
It is well-known that National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales, to which The Times refers several times in this article, was founded by communist and leftwing lawyers for the purpose of attacking, and destroying, the Unification Church, now called the Family Federation. Yet Lloyd Parry, Asia editor of The Times since 2002, simply refers to the network as “lawyers and campaigners against the church”, and one of the activists as “a lawyer who has acted for people claiming back donations from the church”. Nowhere is it mentioned that the network originates from the extreme Left.
Of course, if The Times had mentioned that, they would not have much of a story. The well-informed reader will spot a surely intentional take on the Unification Church in this article, to put the organisation in a bad light. We are presented with the old trick of half-truths painting a certain picture.
Half-truths can naturally appear to be the whole truth, and so does The Times piece here. But a large part of the article is based on statements by activists out to destroy the Unification Church. Half-truths omit essential parts of the story, just like The Times does. To qualify as honest and truthful reporting though, Lloyd Parry ought to mention the objectives of the activist lawyers given such a prominent role in the report.
Distinguished author and sociologist of religion Massimo Introvigne writes about what appears to be The Times’ main source of information,
“All of a sudden, even non-Japanese media after the assassination of Shinzo Abe became familiar with a group called National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales. The network, now including some 300 lawyers, was established in Japan in 1987 to combat the Unification Church, although it occasionally targeted other religious movements as well.” (M. Introvigne in Bitter Winter, online magazine on religious liberty and human rights, 29th August 2022): https://bitterwinter.org/the-abe-assassination-and-religious-liberty/
Introvigne adds in the same article,
“After the crime, media took at face value the statements of anti-Unification-Church lawyers. Nobody cared to investigate them and their past.”
Willy Fautré, CEO and director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, points out that “it is mainly a group of lawyers and leftist media outlets sharing the Communist ideology that is behind this campaign of hate speech” against the Family Federation (Unification Church). (Willy Fautré’s address at at an information meeting on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in Japan at the 42nd Session of the UPR Working Group at the UN Office in Geneva (Palais des Nations), Switzerland 31st January 2023.)
Using the words “Moonie” and “Moonies” several times in Lloyd Parry’s article, betrays The Times’ lack of an impartial attitude towards the Unification Church. These appellations are seen by many members of the Family Federation as offensive, just like the n-word is offensive for people with a darker skin-tone. They remind many of the persecution they received in the 1970’s. The Times creates the impression of ridiculing a certain faith. This would undeniably relegate the once-prestigious paper to the level of the sensationalist tabloids.
Featured image above, similar to the one The Times used in its article: The proposed route for an undersea tunnel linking Japan and South Korea. Photo: Worldmap. License: CC ASA 3.0 Unp