Hearst and Yellow Journalism in America

by on Aug.05, 2010, under The General Pursuit

Hearst Corporation is a privately owned American media conglomerate which has practiced yellow journalism for over 100 years. In recent, Hearst owned Popular Mechanics magazine has published disinformation about, and covered up what really happened on 911. But as far back as the Spanish American War, Hearst was manipulating people’s thoughts for profit.

Here are some excerpts from SparkNotes on the Spanish American War.

The atrocities General Weyler committed in Cuba were massively hyped and sensationalized in the US newspapers, then engaged in a practice known as “yellow journalism”. The two kingpins of the press at the time were William R. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, who were embroiled in a vicious circulation war, in which Hearst even “stole” Pulitzer’s most popular writers by convincing them to defect through promises of money and positions. Hearst’s major publication was the New York Journal and Pulitzer’s publication was the New York World. In order to grow their circulations, both men were willing to go so far as to make up stories.

around 1896, Hearst sent artists to Cuba to paint and draw the atrocities, in hopes that the pictures would sell more papers. Foremost among Hearst’s artists was Frederic Remington. After arriving in Cuba, Remington reported back to Hearst that the rumors were overblown. To this, Hearst famously replied, “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Although Hearst’s statement was egomaniacal and boastful, it was not all that far from the truth. Remington’s pictures in Hearst’s magazines did a great deal to arouse mass concern for Cuba in the US.

If only it were true that the purpose of yellow journalism is to “sell papers”, the world would be a better place. Unfortunately, selling papers is just part of the mind manipulation machinery.

Hearst upped his circulation by producing a new kind of paper, one with mass- market appeal. His papers used lots of pictures and illustrations, large headlines, and the like. Reducing the cost of a paper to as little as a single cent a copy, Hearst made his newspapers accessible to nearly everyone. Because he controlled so much of the market for newspapers, a market that was rapidly growing because of his newspapers, Hearst could practically dictate what the country would think the next day.

Hearst always referred to the Spanish- American War as “the Journal’s war.” In support of Hearst’s boastful term, many historians argue that the Spanish-American War was probably the first true “media war”.

he continued to grow his media empire for several decades, and even successfully ran for a seat in Congress. Only in the 1930s did his business start to collapse. A controversial figure in American history, Hearst was the rough basis for the wealthy journalist-baron in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

People like William Randolph Hearst, and his legacy the Hearst Corporation, have long contributed to the shaping of American thought. Propaganda. Lies. Yellow Journalism.

The Hearst Corporation owns newspapers, magazines, and television stations including:

Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Seventeen, and SmartMoney.

Here is a list of television stations from Hearst Television.

And a list of the 15 newspapers owned by Hearst, including the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Houston Chronicle, can be found here.

Hearst also has financial interest in entertainment and syndication programming, including ownership shares in ESPN, and A&E Television Networks.

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