The Rev. Sun Myung Moon's new daily newspaper, the News World, has been on sale just two weeks and in what might be interpreted as a divine miracle, its broad-sheet pages already are crowded with seemingly lucrative advertisements.
There are full-page advertisements from a big Dodge dealer, and half-page ads from a bus line, ads from a B. F. Goodrich tire dealer, and attractive layouts from fashionable Manhattan clothing stores.
"It's been very exciting. The advertisers are responding very quickly," said Thomas Pearson, promotion director of the News World.
It's little wonder that the advertisers respond so quickly, judging from a survey by The Washington Post of merchants whose ads appeared in several issues this week.
Most of the merchants said they did not pay for the adverisements. A few, in incredulous tones, said they didn't even know their wares or services were being advertised in Moon's Unification Church newspaper.
In fact, most of the businessmen queried said they had not known that the News World was connected with Moon and his followers because there is no mention of the Unification Church in the newspaper.
Some of the merchants said they would attempt to force the News World to remove the ads, which in most cases were simply taken from other publications and reproduced.
"We don't back anything like that (the Unification Church). They're going to have to take the ad out," said Joseph Luzan, a representative of a B.F. Goodrich Tire Co. outlet in Long Island City.
Luzan said the News World apparently obtained the advertising copy from a local weekly and reproduced it "without our authorization."
Robert Walker, an official of the Allied Bus Corp., said his firm's half-page ad ran in News World without his permission, and that when he called the newspaper, "they said, 'It's on us. That's okay.'"
"These guys are determined to make this newspaper a success," said Walker, who speculated that his ad was reproduced from copy he had sent to several weeklies.
Walker said he has been doing business with the Unification Church for several years, providing charter bus service to rallies and other events sponsored by Moon. But, he said, he has no plans to pay for any ads in the paper.
Paul Winston, co-manager of Chipp Custom Tailors in Manhattan, recalled a young man stopped in and "made the proverbial offer you can't refuse."
The deal was that News World would run Chipp's half-page ad for a week at half the standard rate for one day, and then "take the total cost in trade."
Winston said he agreed, adding, "if your paper wants to give me a half-page at that rate, I'll take it."
Some of the advertisers who said they paid for ads seemed to have some association with the Unification Church, the South Korean sect that blends Christianity, Eastern religion and ardent anti-communism, with Moon as the self-proclaimed messiah.
A proprietor of the So-Ko clothing store (presumably shorthand for South Korea) asked testily, "What is your motive for asking these questions." He refused to discuss the ads.
The paper carries numerous ads for Oriental restaurants, and products from Asia, such as Korean ginseng tea.
Most of the merchants who said they paid for ads acknowledged having a business relationship with the Unification Church, such as the Fifth Avenue flag manufacturer who said the sect "is a good customer" and complained he had been receiving "nasty calls" from critics of Moon's sect.
Some critics have charged the newspaper with attempting to proselytize its readers under the deception of being a standard news publication unaffiliated with any religion.
The News World is a typographically clean, full-color 24-page morning paper that bills itself as "New York's oldest color newspaper." On its name-plate, it carries the motto: "Lasting success depends on truth, beauty and love."
But nowhere in the paper is there any mention of the Unification Church or of Moon. The masthead lists a post office box number, an agate type box on the second page names the publisher as News World Communication, Inc., at 481 8th Avenue.
That address is the old New Yorker Hotel, valued at $11 million, which the Unification Church purchased as a headquarters and residence for members.
David Jensen, News editor, denied the paper plans to be "religious oriented, "saying it would strive to become like the Christian Science Monitor, which he said "was founded by a controversial religious leader of her day who is now respected." He was referring to Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science.
Richard Hergog, director of the national advertising office of the Federal Trade Commission, said the practice of publishing unsolicited ads is "suspect," but that since he knows of no precedent, he is uncertain about the legality.
"I think it probably would be an unfair practice. The injury to the advertiser would be his image, if he was opposed to the principles of the publication," Herzog said.
Jensen said the News World will be "completely autonomous" from the Unification Church, but added, "we don't want to give attention to the bad elements of our society."
In its first issues, the paper emphasized upbeat "good news" stories, with heavy coverage of Asian affairs in its news, features and sports sections.
It placed heavy emphasis on anti-Communist news and analysis, warning in its editorials and opinion columns of the dangers of Marxist thought. In one issue, for example, it ran a nearly full-page chart illustrating "the scale of horror" in the 20th century, with skulls depicting the millions of deaths attributed to Chairman Mao and Stalin.
It also publishes several conservative columns including Victor Lasky and his current critical series on "the Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
Late in December, the News World actively promoted itself on radio, touting it as filling a vacuum left by the demise of New York's major morning papers. But it made no mention of the Unification Church.
Although Dennis F. Orme, president of News World, originally claimed that the startup would be 150,000 papers, the News World now is distributing about 50,000 copies - some of them free - according to Pearson.
Pearson said newsstand operators were being offered 6 cents a copy to distribute the paper, but he said he did not know how many copies were being circulated daily. The paper has not yet been required to join the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which establishes circulation patterns on which advertising rates are based.
It's hard to tell, really, what the circulation is. Some nights we pass out old issues, and in a true sense we really are distributing a lot of copies," Pearson said.
Several midtown Manhattan news dealers said News World is distributed daily in bundles, but that often there is no request for payment.
"They seem to be intent on creating the illusion of mass distribution. Most of the time, I never even cut the string (on the newspaper bundles)," said one dealer.
Another midtown dealer said, "I don't care if they leave five bundles here, as long as it doesn't get in the way. But I'm not buying those papers wholesale, you can be sure." The normal procedure for newsstand dealers is to buy large lots of papers wholesale, and then sell them at the retail price.
Pearson conceded that the News World is making marketing concessions in order to establish itself, even if it means a loss.
"We're taking a big bite every time we publish. We give some concessions in advertising and circulation, because the publication is new and we need to get started, Pearson said.
Pearson said the News World was striving for a 50-50 ratio of news and advertising, and for paid circulation of 150,000.
The paper is offset printed in a job printing shop in Mount Kisco, N.Y., about 45 miles north of New York City.
Besides Orme, who is a Unification Church - member and former printer from Great Britain, the News World staff includes:
Larry Moffitt, 27, editorial page editor, who said he once owned an advertising agency in Austin, Tex., before joining the Moon sect; Josette Sheeran, 23, who has a journalism degree from the University of Colorado and was in the news last year when her father, New Jersey Insurance Commissioner James Sheeran, publicly charged that three of his daughters were "brainwashed" into the Moon sect.
The staff also includes Unification Church members Robert Spitz, business editor, and Robin Khal, 27, of England, who is international editor.
The paper claims to have 150 writers and editors in New York, plus 350 national correspondents in the United States, and 120 foreign correspondents, all paid in a per-article basis.
The paper has also subscribed to several major wire services, including United Press International, Reuters and Agence-France Press.