The Washington Times--arguably America's preeminent right-leaning, Unification Church-backed newspaper--is in a bad spot. A spat between the sons of retired founder Reverend Sun Myung Moon has prompted a search for new ownership. Top talent has left the newsroom. Budget woes prompted the paper to axe its sports section and stop publishing a Sunday edition. Oh, and did we mention the snake that's loose in the newsroom? Miraculously, this didn't deter Sun Myung Moon from reportedly striking a deal on Tuesday to buy back the paper . All of which raises the question: what does Moon's return mean for the Times?

  • Back in Control  Moon's background is unconventional, concedes Media Bistro's Betsy Rothstein, but his return is "good news for TWT editorial staffers." With Moon in the fold, writes Rothstein, the paper "will not shut down for 30 days as previously predicted by bloggers and reporters around Washington."

  • Business as Usual  Politico's Keach Hagey says last week's near-closing and today's apparent sale "[represent] only an incremental increase over the typical tension at the paper." The paper's stature declined to the point that it "stopped reporting its circulation to the Audit Bureau of Circulation in 2008, and earlier this month, was moved back a row in the White House briefing room." In the newsroom, though, a sense of "cautious optimism" greets Moon's return.

  • Still Problems  New York Magazine's Mike Vilensky suggests the sale could be complicated by Preston Moon's chilly relationship with Dong Moon Joo, the former Times chairman who is fronting the elder Moon's bid. Preston and Joo are "mortal enemies," a hurdle that tends to prove problematic in a business setting. Preston, Vilensky writes, views Joo as a "snake slithering in a meeting room," a position that may or may not soften upon seeing an actual snake slithering in a meeting room.

  • The Man Who Wasn't There The highlight of the negotiations--at least inside the Beltway--came yesterday when reports surfaced that Daniel Snyder, the sharp-elbowed owner of the Washington Redskins was in the running to buy the paper. The Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna argued the deal would have made sense in light of Snyder's acquisition of DC-area media outlets:

I've been suspicious about Snyder and the Washington Times since the spring. He attended the White House Correspondents Dinner and brought Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb along with him. They all sat at the Washington Times' table.

Snyder's guest appearance came several months after the paper killed its sports section and laid off everybody who ever wrote about the Redskins. So they make for odd dining companions. Unless, of course, he was considering buying the place as part of his plan to own every media outlet and employ every journalist.

That is Snyder's plan, you know.