Washington Times Editor and Wife Promote Radical Right Agenda
By Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok
Marian Kester Coombs is a woman who believes America has become a "den of iniquity" thanks to "its efforts to accommodate minorities." White men should "run, not walk" to wed "racially conscious" white women and avoid being out-bred by non-whites.
Latinos are "rising to take this country away from those who made it," the "Euroamericans." Muslims are "human hyenas" who "smell blood" and are "closing in" on their "weakened prey," meaning "the white race."
Blacks, Coombs sneers, are "saintly victims who can do no wrong." Black solidarity and non-white immigration are imposing "racial revolution and decomposition" in America.
Coombs describes herself as just "a freelance writer in Crofton, Maryland." But this is one writer who's a bit more well-positioned than she lets on.
Marian Kester Coombs is married to Francis Booth Coombs, managing editor of the hard-right newspaper, The Washington Times. Fran Coombs has allowed his wife to write at least 35 news and opinion pieces for his paper, although his relation to her is not acknowledged in her Times bylines.
And that's not all. Fran Coombs has presided over the Times' republication of excerpts taken from white supremacist hate groups, not to mention allowing a key employee at the paper to write fawning pieces about the same groups.
Just this February, Times officials had to apologize to a Jewish group for publishing one anti-Semitic ad for a book called For Fear of the Jews. What they didn't say was that they had published similar ads nine other times in a single month last fall, plus another from a key Holocaust denial outfit.
Both Coombses declined comment. So did Washington Times Editor in Chief Wesley Pruden and officials of the organization that owns the newspaper.
Most of Marian Coombs' especially inflammatory writings have appeared in white supremacist venues such as The Occidental Quarterly, which ran her glowing review of a book on "racially conscious" whites by Robert S. Griffin, a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. But the Times has published its share.
In one opinion piece in the Times, Coombs described the whole of human history as "the struggle of ... races." Non-white immigration, she wrote in another column, is "importing poverty and revolution" that will end in "the eventual loss of sovereign American territory." In England, Muslims "are turning life in this once pleasant land into a misery for its native inhabitants."
In at least two Times pieces, Coombs cites Nick Griffin, head of the British National Party (BNP), as an authority on Muslim culture. In fact, eight paragraphs of one short story are quotations from Griffin. What Coombs forgets to mention is that the BNP is a whites-only extremist party whose leader has been convicted in England of race-hate crimes.
Elsewhere, she is more candid. In Chronicles, a key far-right publication, Coombs expanded on some of her ideas on race in an article bitterly condemning globalization. Healthy cultures, she suggested, will "proudly prefer [their] own people." Such a people will, among other things, "revel in the unrivaled beauty of [their] characteristic complexion, hair texture, eye color and head shape."
In another Chronicles article, Coombs offers her very own theory on the origins of homosexuality. Boys, she writes, become homosexual in utero because "[s]tress on the mother interrupts the vital action of the testosterone upon the male fetus, leaving his brain insufficiently male." These mothers are "neurotic women" who have "unsexed their male infants in the womb."
And, she adds, a 1987 article in a gay magazine that discusses ways for gays to win further acceptance is "a sort of a Protocols of the Elders of Queer" — a secret takeover plot, in other words.
Before refusing further comment, Fran Coombs did tell the Intelligence Report in an e-mail that he had "no relationship with The Occidental Quarterly," and did not know what it was.
(Started in 2002, the journal is published by William H. Regnery II of the famous publishing family. Regnery said he started it because "conservatives have simply become indistinguishable from progressives on issues of race and ethnicity." The magazine is dedicated to the study of "racial character," and its first issue called for dividing America into racial mini-states.)
Coombs would not respond to any questions about his wife's frequent articles for the magazine.
That separates the Times from at least one other highly conservative periodical. When the Report told Thomas Winter, editor in chief of Human Events, that his managing editor, Kevin Lamb, also edited The Occidental Quarterly, Lamb was immediately let go. Lamb, who has also written for other racist publications, simultaneously lost his job as managing editor of The Evans-Novak Political Report.
The same day, Winter ousted four contributors to Human Events whose background was provided by the Report: Wayne Lutton and Peter Gemma, both members of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens; Marian Kester Coombs; and Robert Stacy McCain, a key Washington Times editor who has suggested that "perfectly rational people" react with "altogether natural revulsion" to interracial marriage.
In its 60-year history, Winter told the Report, Human Events had never "knowingly hired a racist, never published racist articles, and never tolerated racist sympathies ... and we never will." Within hours, archives of articles by Coombs, McCain and the others had disappeared from the Human Events Web site.
But McCain still works at The Washington Times, where his articles run under headlines like "Backlash Building in White America." Under the direction of Fran Coombs and National Editor Ken Hanner, in fact, McCain puts together the paper's page-two "Culture Briefs" section.
In that section, McCain has used excerpts from racist venues including American Renaissance magazine and the VDARE Web site. (For her part, Coombs has written articles for VDARE and once wrote to American Renaissance with this: "Whites do not like crowded societies, and Americans would not have to live in crowds if our government kept out Third-World invaders.")
In fact, McCain may be the only mainstream newspaper reporter to have covered four American Renaissance conferences. Twice, he offered no description of the group, which is devoted to race science. Once, he said it was "critical of liberal positions on race and immigration." Only in 2004 did he note that some viewed it as racist.
McCain, who declined all comment, has also been identified by the League of the South hate group, for whom he occasionally writes, as a member.
Despite his well-known sympathies, McCain has written in the Times about the "pro-South" groups he favors. Last June 27, for instance, he penned an extremely long front-page article headlined "Southern Pride Rallies 'Round the Flag." He was talking about the Confederate battle flag.
The Washington Times has taken something of a public-relations beating recently. This Jan. 20, it ran an ad attacking Jews as "those folks of the anti-Christ." After the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington complained, Times General Manager Richard Amberg Jr. wrote the group to profusely apologize, claiming the Times "never knowingly" allows ads that "denigrate religions."
That may be. But in just one sample period in late 2004, the newspaper ran at least nine similar ads — on Oct. 11, 13, 15, 20, 22, 26, 29, 30 and 31 — many of them plugging an anti-Semitic book called For Fear of the Jews. On Dec. 6, it went one better, publishing an ad for the Institute for Historical Review, a leading anti-Semitic hate group that specializes in denying the World War II Holocaust.
The Washington Times is relatively small (circulation 102,000) and money-losing (it's been estimated that its backer, the Unification Church, has spent more than $1 billion to keep it going over the past 22 years). But its influence cannot be measured in those statistics. President Reagan once described it as his favorite paper. The first President Bush said it "in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C."
That influence may have reached a public peak this winter, when President George W. Bush invited its top leaders — including Coombs, Pruden, Hanner and others — to the White House for an exclusive, 40-minute interview. The resulting stories were spread across the front page of the Times' Jan. 12 edition.
Presumably the president, who on Feb. 8 denounced "the baggage of bigotry" and called racism "the central defect of our founding," knew little of the paper's record on race.