(The Rev. Sun Myung Moon. sure, Ben Bradlee’s widely respected, but does he look this hot in a crown?)

Well, once the sale is complete, anyway. Just a few months after the Washington Times declared a daily sports section surplus to requirements, the 28 year old newspaper is on the auction block.  On at least one occasion, someone from the Times’ defunct sports department took issue with my (repeated) characterization of his workplace as “a Moonie paper” ; if he’s still reading CSTB, he oughta feel free to take it up with the Washington Post’s Ian Shapira :

Current negotiations follow months of turmoil at both the 28-year-old conservative daily and the business empire founded by Moon, 90, whose children are jostling for control over the church’s myriad enterprises, which range from fisheries to arms manufacturing.

One of Moon’s children, Justin Moon, who was chosen by his father to run many of the church’s Asian businesses, has slashed the newspaper’s annual subsidy, forcing the paper’s executives, led by Moon’s eldest son, Preston Moon, to search for deep pockets elsewhere. Meanwhile, the newspaper has hacked its newsroom staff by more than half, from 225 in 2002 down to about 70 people, raised the paper’s price and deliberately shrunk its circulation to cut costs, shed its metro and sports sections, and fired or pushed out several top executives, including its publisher earlier this week. Several reporters said most of the staffers are seeking to leave.

The finances are so tight that the newspaper hasn’t paid some of its bills or tended to basic maintenance issues — such as hiring an exterminator to deal with mice and snakes sneaking into the building on New York Avenue in Northeast.