The Words of the Moffitt Family
It has been said that journalists are like sharks following a ship, waiting for someone to fall overboard. That statement is a little unfair, but not greatly so.
Given that journalists tend to react to the smell of blood in the water, Father could see that it is necessary for the media not to lose sight of a guiding sense of responsibility. It is a healthy process for journalists to gather from time to time to examine their conduct in the coverage of certain issues.
Thus, the World Media Conference, now in its sixth year, was founded by Fattier and News World Communications to allow journalists to step away from the deadline pressure for a week each year and look closely at the character and responsibility of the media.
This year I finally discovered why Father founded the World Media Conference. For one thing, the conference brings together righteous people of integrity. They are anti-communists who also believe that the media has a higher responsibility that it is currently failing to meet. Every year I am flabbergasted to find that so many of these people are meeting each other for the very first time at our conference. Here they are, dedicated to freedom, fighting with all their energy for the very same causes -- but they had never met. They should have already been friends for the last 20 years. They should have joined forces a generation ago, creating the kind of unity that would foster a righteous media that never would have allowed a Hitler or a Stalin or a Mao to gain credibility.
Good people meet each other and gain strength at the conference. In addition to the sessions, there is what I call the real conference, the exchange of business cards and phone numbers at mealtimes, and the appointments to see each other again during the ear to collaborate on a book or other project. A substantial number of participants contribute something to the editorial pages of one of our newspapers during the year.
A spinoff to the conference that I find most gratifying is summed up in a statement made by the editor-in-chief of a major European news agency after hearing Father's opening address. "After this morning, I had to take everything I ever thought about Rev. Moon and throw it out the window," he said. In one morning's time, one of the foremost opinion-shapers in Europe went from being a critic of the church to an ardent supporter.
One of our VIP guest speakers, a man who writes and speaks to large audiences all over the world, said in his impressions of the conference, "My wife and I both had our eyes opened to a wholly different view of Reverend Moon and his preaching. Above all else, the truth of Reverend Moon is most accurately reflected in those who adopt his teaching. The best gauge of any enterprise, movement or religion is the quality of the people who identify themselves with it. The Reverend Moon's followers are top-notch human beings, all to his credit. The world is a better place for his ministry."
I get a letter or two like this every day. And the people who write them are the kind of people who feel obliged to speak out aggressively and correct injustices like the kind that have been dealt to the Unification Church.
The place where the church has gotten the most abuse has been Korea. It is especially painful because Korea is our spiritual homeland.
In light of the official atmosphere there, I was worried about how the Korean media would treat the conference. It was pretty certain they wouldn't write negatively, but what if they just ignored us to death? What if we invite 274 top journalists from 71 nations to see Korea -- and the local press writes a one-paragraph blurb, the size story you would write if a stranger were found dead at the bus station?
Fortunately, we were received beyond our expectations, and the conference dominated the 6:00 and 9:00 evening news and the morning shows. This was largely due to our having some participants who were of special interest to Korea: Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II (nephew of the famous general); Nguyen Cao Ky, former Premier of South Vietnam; Maj. Gen. John Singlaub, former chief of U.N. forces in Korea who was fired by former U.S. President Carter for publicly opposing his troop withdrawal plan; Commander Lloyd Bucher, famous for having his boat, the U.S.S. Pueblo, captured and held for a year by North Korea in 1968; and others.
The conference was blessed with an incredible staff, led by Tomiko Duggan and featuring an Unificationist tossed salad of people from other departments. Joy Garrett from Dr. Durst's staff and Joan Suzuki from New Future Films were among those who sacrificed a lot of their own work there to assist our regular News World staff.
A final benefit of the conference is that many who attend feel compelled by their sense of justice, and the fact that journalists will always be journalists, to ask for further information about the founder's beliefs. Thus, a new level of Divine Principle seminar has been created for the media. The first one was held last summer in the Bahamas, for about 50 journalists, and there will be three seminars of that size this year.
If you take a person of integrity and courage and show him the Unification Church in the clear light of day -- I believe he will be amazed, impressed and inspired. If so, and if he is a journalist, he will say exactly what he thinks and to hell with everyone. If the World Media Conference did not exist, this network of righteous journalists would probably never be formed -- and very few of them would be able to penetrate the smokescreen of untruth surrounding Unificationism.
We are grateful for the prayers and support of all our brothers and sisters in your various missions. We are connected, and the fate of one mission is destined to be shared by all the others. Without this spiritual connection, there is no doubt we would have failed. But with it, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and sweat not.