A few reporters, such as the Inquirer’s Uriah Painter, grew wealthy by trading on the inside information they gleaned from their work as journalists. By the end of the war, the profits from Horace White’s wartime speculation enabled him to buy a controlling stake in the Tribune. He immediately booted the paper’s legendary editor, Joseph Medill, and installed himself as editor in chief. (Medill returned to the job in 1874.)
Lincoln did his part to keep the press happy. One newspaper, the Washington Sunday Chronicle, lived off government printing contracts and bulk sales to the Army of the Potomac, and it “became as close to an official organ as the Lincoln administration would have,” according to “Press Gallery.” The president also spread printing contracts and advertising among other pro-Republican papers and handed out diplomatic and postal jobs to their correspondents. After two New York papers, the World and Journal of Commerce, unknowingly printed a fallacious story planted by conspirators to manipulate gold prices in 1864, Lincoln ordered the papers’ owners arrested and the papers closed. The proprietors were released, however, when detectives tracked down the actual perpetrators.