Banks mea culpa at taxpayers’ expense?

bac4The U.S. government has frowned upon banks using TARP money for things such as corporate jet travel, junkets to Las Vegas, and out-sized salaries.

But it hasn’t said anything about using the money to buy full page ads in major newspapers to try to win back some love from the American public.

For example, Bank of America, which this week said it was selling most of its corporate jet fleet, has been peppering the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Financial Times with ads extollings its virtues for several days now.

On Thursday, for example, one of its ads proclaimed that “the foundation of this nation is its communities” before going on to brag about its ten-year $1.5 trillion community development initiative, and commitment to its goal of $2 billion in philanthropy over ten years, saying, “the renewed strength of this nation will come from deep within.”

The ad’s tag-line: “This is America. We keep moving forward.”

Other TARP recipients are also running advertisements.

JP Morgan, for example, has a recurring ad boasting it has lent $100 billion in the last quarter alone, apparently in response to criticism from the government banks are sitting on TARP money.

from MediaFile:

Financial Times finds new way to save newspapers

Maybe the real headline should be, "Financial Times finds old way to save newspapers." It's called the lawsuit. As reported by Cityfile:

You know we're in a deep recession when even billionaire financiers can't afford to pay for subscriptions to the Financial Times. In what will go down as one of the more bizarre (and unintentionally hilarious) lawsuits we've seen in quite some time, the newspaper filed a lawsuit against Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone Group on Wednesday for sharing an FT username and password instead of setting up separate accounts for its employees. Yes, an unknown "senior employee" at the colossal private equity firm "authorized the initiation and repeated renewal of an individual, personal subscription to" and then distributed the login details to company employees so they could all join in on the fun. (The court documents list the username as "theblackstonegroup" and the password as "blackstone," although FT says it has since "disabled the credentials to mitigate damages.")

The New York Post gives us the background on why the situation is absurd on its face:

News Corp, Breakingviews, and the FT

rtrdc25_comp.jpgReuters’ Robert MacMillan was the first to report that the Wall Street Journal plans to drop a daily opinion column from, the financial commentary and news service founded by financial journalist Hugo Dixon. But as Portfolio’s Felix Salmon notes, the move may have a lot to do with the Financial Times.

With all of the coverage about Murdoch’s desire to use the Journal to take on the New York Times, it’s easy to forget that News Corp’s acquisition also puts the FT squarely in its sights. Salmon posits that Journal editor Robert Thomson is preparing a direct assault on the FT’s lucrative Lex column, which the pink-hued paper considers to be such a draw that it charges a hefty premium for access.

On the same day that Breakingviews was dropped, the Journal also poached Thorold Barker and Liam Denning from Lex. Their likely destination: The Journal’s rival “Heard on the Street” column, which unlike Lex is free online.