American Media, Inc., owner of the National Enquirer and other media brands, has applied for a Paycheck Protection Program small business loan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An AMI spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap, “American Media made the decision to apply for PPP support in an effort to secure hundreds of jobs that might have been lost as we and other publishers continue to navigate the current economic climate created by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
AMI did not comment on the amount it sought. The Daily Beast reported the company applied to receive a lone between $5 million and $6 million.
There is disagreement about whether media organizations should accept money from the PPP, which was designed to help small businesses through the pandemic. At the end of April, political publication Axios returned its $4.8 million PPP loan, the company said, because the program became “much more politically polarized since its inception” and there was “public backlash against a variety of companies for taking the PPP, including us.”
However, Sam Terilli, the chair of the University of Miami’s department of journalism and media management who also served as general counsel to the Miami Herald Publishing Company, urged outlets in a conversation with TheWrap last week to use federal Paycheck Protection Program loans to get them through the current revenue crisis brought on by the pandemic.
Terilli called the loan, which is only available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees, a “good thing” and said he is “not at all concerned about creating a risk that somehow is going to break down the wall of editorial separation between church and state, between newspapers and governments, local or otherwise. The fact is, local news going back to the founding of The Republican has had relations with the government,” from advertising to postal rates.
AMI has a history with President Donald Trump. In 2018, the Associated Press reported that under AMI CEO David Pecker, the National Enquirer buried damaging stories about Trump and kept documents relating to hush-money payments to women in a locked safe ahead of the 2016 presidential election.