Bailouts and the Press

History has a way of repeating itself and all these comparisons between today’s recession and the great depression are sometimes eerily similar.

Economic conditions and the popularity of the internet have devastated the newspaper industry. This past winter Philadelphia Inquirer chief executive officer Brian P. Tierney, asked Governor Rendell for a $10 million bailout. No bailout came, and in February Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C., which owns The Inquirer, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In the 1930’s declining revenues successfully prompted government intervention with disturbing consequences. While FDR didn’t offer bailouts, he did use the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to lend $1 million to David Stern, owner of the democrat Philadelphia Record. FDR also endorsed an IRS investigation of Stern’s chief rival Moses Annenberg, the owner of the republican Philadelphia Inquirer and a harsh critic of the president.

In 1942 Moses Annenberg died in prison and in 1947 the Record went out of business.

For more about the new deal then and now click here.