William Randolph Hearst

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Willian Randolph Hearst (April 29, 1863-August 14, 1951) was an American newspaper publisher and politician, who was against America joining World War I. His newspapers ran stories that were sensationalized and entertaining, but which sometimes twisted the truth.

Early Life

Hearst was born In San Francisco on April 29, 1863, the son of United States Senator George Hearst, and Phoebe (Apperson) Hearst. He was educated in the San Francisco public schools and at Harvard University. At twenty-three, he began his newspaper career as the editor and proprietor of the San Francisco Examiner.[1]

Publishing Career

Nine years after beginning his run of the San Francisco Examiner, Mr. Hearst bought the New York Journal. He subsequently bought the Advertiser to secure a news franchise, and then founded the New York American.

His newspaper activities have by no means been confined to San Francisco and New York, however, for the following representative publications owed their existence to him: the Chicago American, founded in 1900; the Chicago Morning Examiner, in 1902; the Boston American, in 1904; the Los Angeles Examiner, in 1904.

His papers In these three cities appealed to the masses, and had very large circulation. They are "papers that do things." and are proud of being "yellow."[2]

Image in the media

Cartoonist W.A. Rogers sees the political uses of the Wizard of Oz: he depicts Hearst as a mud-throwing Scarecrow stuck in his own Ooze in this 1906 cartoon in Harper's Weekly magazine.

Orson Welles' movie, Citizen Kane, is a fictional drama about a character with an unmistakable resemblance to Hearst. It is viciously satirical, and cruel to both Hearst and to his long-time mistress, Marion Davies. Many critics have named it as the best movie of all time, and it was voted #1 on the American Film Institute's list of the hundred best movies ever made.[3]

Government by Newspapers

As a publishing philosophy, Hearst practiced what he called "government by newspapers".[4][5][6][7][8]

Historian David Nasaw wrote[9] that Hearst was "the first publisher to understand that the communications media were potentially more powerful than the parties and their politicians". However, Hearst did not develop his philosophy of "government by newspapers" on his own.

Meeting with William Thomas Stead

A year before the Spanish–American War,[10] William Thomas Stead wrote of his crossing the Atlantic to meet with Mr. Hearst. Stead taught Hearst about Government by Journalism, and praised him for his role in creating the Spanish–American War by saying "He had found his soul".[11][12]

Spanish American War

In 1898, Hearst's paper ran sensational stories about atrocities he said the Spanish were committing in Cuba. His stories (and those of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World) played a role in swaying public opinion in favor of what was to become the Spanish-American War. A famous story, but one which is probably not true, says that Hearst sent artist Frederick Remington to Cuba and wired him to send back pictures of the war. Remington supposedly wired back, "There is no war." Hearst replied, "You furnish the pictures, I'll provide the war."

Involvement in politics

Hearst attempted to enter politics numerous times, beginning his political career[2] in 1901 as a Democratic candidate for Congress from the Eleventh District of New York. In 1902, he was victorious at winning a seat to the US congress to the Fifty-eighth congress. Once elected, he sought labor support, and became an advocate of Municipal Socialism.[2] From 1903-1907 he was a Democrat congressman from New York City.[13]

After being returned to the House of Representatives in 1904, he was elected President of the National League of Democratic Clubs,[1] and in 1905 Hearst founded an independent party named the Municipal Ownership League for his run for mayor of New York City. His running mates were John Ford for controller[14], who was a Democrat senator from New York; and James Graham Phelps Stokes for President of the Board of Aldermen[15], who was a millionaire socialist writer and a founding member of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for the mayoralty of New York City. In 1906, he stood unsuccessfully for the Governorship of New York State, on the Independence ticket. In 1908 he formed a new party, and his revelations as to the relations of the Trusts with the two political parties created a great sensation. In 1909, under the banner of the Civic Alliance, he made a second unsuccessful run for the mayoralty of New York City.

Personal Life

On April 1902, he married Miss Millicent Willson. Their three children are boys.

Interest in Aviation

Mr. Hearst, who was particularly enthusiastic of the newer forms of locomotion at the time, had his first experience of flight in January, 1909, at Los Angeles, when Louis Paulhan, the famous French aviator, took him for an air trip on his Farman biplane.[1][16]

See Also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Aircraft, Volume 1, 1910
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Who's Who in the World, 1912
  3. AFI's 100 Greatest American Films of All Time
  4. Sterling, Christopher (2009). Encyclopedia of Journalism. SAGE Publications, 2252. ISBN 978-0761929574. 
  5. Scharnhorst, Gary (2014). Julian Hawthorne: The Life of a Prodigal Son. University of Illinois Press, 144. ISBN 978-0252038341. 
  6. Lamb, Brian (2001). Booknotes: Stories from American History. PublicAffairs, 159. ISBN 978-0142002490. 
  7. Goldsmith, Bonnie (2010). William Randolph Hearst: Newspaper Magnate. ABDO, 45. ISBN 978-1604537635. 
  8. Procter, Ben (2007). William Randolph Hearst: The Later Years, 1911-1951. Oxford University Press, Chapter 1: Government by Newspaper. ISBN 0195325346. 
  9. BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Hearst, Man and Mogul: Going Beyond the Myths, The New York Times
  10. William T., Stead. "A Character Sketch of William Randolph Hearst, by William Thomas Stead", Review of Reviews, December 1908. Retrieved on 5 October 2014. 
  11. W. Randolf Hearst. Attackingthedevil.co.uk (30 December 2010). Retrieved on 5 October 2014. “He began the battle against the Trusts; he made the Spanish–American war. For weal or for woe Mr. Hearst had found his soul; for weal or for woe he had discovered his chart and engaged his pilot, and from that day to this he has steered a straight course, with no more tackings than were necessary to avoid the fury of the storm. Some years afterwards I met Mr. Hearst in Paris. He recalled our first conversation, and said, "I never had a talk with anyone which made so deep a dint in life.”
  12. Eckley, Grace (2007). Maiden Tribute. Xlibris Corporation, Chapter 11. ISBN 978-1-4257-2708-6. 
  13. (1913) United States Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office, Chapter 11. 
  14. HEARST CONVENTION THE BIGGEST OF ALL; Nominee Says He Has No Misgivings About Winning Now. GOT A 14-MINUTE OVATION " Boos" for a Jerome Supporter -- Ford and Stokes Nominated to Fill Out the Ticket. HEARST CONVENTION THE BIGGEST OF ALL. New York Times (October 13, 1905).
  15. A FULL HEARST TICKET; To be Put Up To-night -- 100,000 Votes Sure, Says Ihmsen.. New York Times (October 14, 1905).
  16. Hearst an Aviator, Editor and Publisher, Volume 9, 1910

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