Is Newsweek About to Be Controlled by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 5 2013 2:18 PM

Is Newsweek About to Be Controlled by the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

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A French-language edition of Newsweek in 2004 in Paris

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

When I was a kid and my mom worked at Newsweek, the magazine was owned by the Washington Post Company—the owners of Slate. Over the weekend, word came that its current owner—Barry Diller's IAC—is selling the brand to IBT Media, the people behind the International Business Times. IBT Media is officially owned and run by Etienne Uzac, the company’s CEO, and Johnathan Davis, their chief content officer. But reports in the New York Observer and in Christianity Today suggest that it's actually controlled by David Jang, a Korean pastor whose followers believe he's the second coming of Christ.

Operating as a subsidiary of a fringe religious movement is, famously, a media business strategy that's been pioneered right here in Washington, D.C., by the Washington Times and the Unification Church. The road less traveled is probably the Slate path, where publishing is a relatively small branch of a conglomerate that's primarily dedicated to such pursuits as for-profit education, hospice services, and industrial boilers.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.