Where is Frank Kent Today?
A paper presented to journalism educators in 1986 featured Frank Kent, a Baltimore Sun reporter who dared to oppose President Roosevelt's New Deal policies.
In early August 1986, Marvin N. Olasky presented a 21-page paper entitled "Scratching the First Teflon Presidency: Frank Kent vs. Franklin Roosevelt" to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Twenty-five years later, some wonder: Who, among the legacy media, is Frank Kent today?
Here's the abstract of Olasky's paper.
"ABSTRACT: While the typical pantheon of journalism history heroes is made up almost entirely of individuals who campaigned for more governmental regulation and increased social liberalism, there is also an opposing tradition in American journalism, one based on the premise that governmental cures are in most cases worse that the diseases they are designed to control or eradicate. In looking at forgotten conservative journalists, it is important to examine the career of Frank Kent (1877-1958), a Baltimore "Sun" writer and syndicated columnist who gained a reputation for opposition to President Roosevelt's New Deal policies.
In 1933 popular support for Roosevelt was so great that even Congressmen who had objections were reluctant to speak them. The combination of economic and social crises with Roosevelt's personal charm made allies of almost every editor and reporter. Frank Kent, influenced by the historical and political science perspective he brought to reporting and writing, was bothered by this uncritical acceptance of the National Industrial Recovery Act and the National Recovery Administration (NRA).
Roosevelt and his administration struck back at Kent and other critics, but by 1934, other journalists began to join Kent in opposition to the NRA, and a study by the liberal Brookings Institute did indeed reveal that the economy was not recovering. The NRA system began breaking down in late 1934; by 1935 small businesses were beginning to openly defy the NRA codes; and by the end of 1935, the Supreme Court declared the NRA unconstitutional. Kent was vindicated.
Despite Roosevelt's resounding reelection, Kent's journalistic practice provides a different perspective on the current view of some conservatives that the press should support presidential prerogatives."
The answer to the question "Where is Frank Kent today?" is this:
His name is Legion, and his numbers are growing. But he's rarely found in the static cubicles of the old media. Instead, he now ranges across the web pages of the new.