The History of the Race Wire Service Part Three

Oct 14, 2009 - by Allan May - 0 Comments

Ragen and McBride and the End of the Race Wire

The conclusion of Allan May's three part series on the rise and fall of the notorious race wire service.

by Allan May

Part Three: Ragen and McBride and the End of the Race Wire

U. S. Sen. Estes Kefauver once called the Continental Press the nation’s Public Enemy Number One. "In my opinion, the wire service keeps alive the illegal gambling empire which in turn bankrolls a variety of other criminal activities in America."

When Moses Annenberg, under pressure from Capone, disbanded Nation Wide News Service in 1939, Arthur B. "Mickey" McBride established the Continental Press. Born in Chicago in 1888, McBride had a long career in the newspaper business. Recalling an incident as a child, he said he once purchased 50 newspapers for 50 cents, "I sold the batch of papers for $1, and I’ve been making business deals ever since." McBride learned the newspaper circulation business by working for William Randolph Hearst. In 1911, McBride became Hearst’s circulation manager for the Chicago American which took on the Chicago Tribune in a bitter circulation war.

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