Remember the story last week about the Moonies poaching leopard sharks and getting caught? A diarist at DailyKos has documented how the AP scrubbed the story of a key element: Rev. Moon’s knowledge of the illegal activity. In the first version of the AP story, written by Marcus Wohlsen, they were explicit references to the sermon from one of Moon’s ministers where he talked about how Moon knew what they were doing and approved of it:
In a recording of a 2003 sermon, Thompson unabashedly told his congregation just how far he believed that dominion extended, boasting that members of what he called the “Ocean Church” had spent more than a decade catching and selling baby leopard sharks to pet stores.
“We want the smaller the better,” Thompson said.
Thompson bragged that a fellow church member had one day discovered a leopard shark pupping ground in mud flats along the bay and had returned with more than 100 baby sharks. He said pet stores would pay $20 per shark and sell them for home aquariums for $75 each.
Moon himself became excited when he learned about the shark-catching operation, Thompson claimed in the sermon.
“He told me, you know you need 20 boats out there fishing,” Thompson said. “He had this big plan drawn out.”
Thompson is the pastor of Moon’s Bay Area Family Church and the man convicted of running the operation. In the later version of the AP story, written by the same reporter, all mention of this sermon is gone and only this statement from the church remains:
The church was not aware Thompson was engaged in illegal activity and does not condone such conduct, Rev. Michael Jenkins, president of the Unification Church of America, said in a statement.
Now the question is, why would the AP make such a change? It’s not as though there is any lack of evidence; you can hear the sermon for yourself. And AP certainly shouldn’t have any desire to exonerate Moon; after all, he owns their primary competitor, UPI. If anything, you would think they’d love to stick it to him. Curiouser and curiouser.