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17 June 2008, 8:39 AM

I got a call the other day from a fellow in Alabama who is a keen student of The Washington Times and its influence on right-wing politics in the U.S., the paper being owned and operated by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, otherwise known as the Moonies.

My caller was incensed by something I had written that dismissed the Times as a silly embarassment that was costing the Reverend Moon and his minions millions of dollars and having no influence to speak of on anything.

My memory is far from perfect, but this rang no bells at all. Where did you come across this? I asked.

Google alerts, of course. Something from The Mother Earth News.

Well yes, I did write a column for that magazine back in the mists of time. The offending column, if in fact I wrote it, was anything but recent. The caller said he'd check further and also send me evidence of the Times' growing influence among neocons and others who've been running the administration for the past eight years.

Turns out the column did indeed appear in TMEN... in 1990.

I suppose the magazine is just now getting around to posting their archives on line, but you'd think they'd date the bloody things. I mean, it's nice to know that someone thinks that something you wrote 18 years ago is worth preserving, but I do wish the context were made a little clearer.

The lesson, I guess, is, don't think everything Google alerts you to is as of 15 minutes ago.

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