Saturday, August 23, 2014

What was the original definition of objective journalism? Where did it originate from?

Back in 1990, Richard Streckfuss, an Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln wrote a paper titled "Objectivity in Journalism", in which he makes finding the answer to this question remarkably easy. Before the phrase "Objective Journalism" was born, science and news gathering were fused together in thought by Walter Lippmann, the Father of Modern Journalism. Realistically speaking, this one single thing is what earns Lippmann that title. Lippmann's ideal of the objective journalist can be found here, in his book titled "Liberty and the News", on page 82:
With this increase of prestige must go a professional training in journalism in which the ideal of objective testimony is cardinal. The cynicism of the trade needs to be abandoned, for the true patterns of the journalistic apprentice are not the slick persons who scoop the news, but the patient and fearless men of science who have labored to see what the world really is. It does not matter that the news is not susceptible of mathematical statement. In fact, just because news is complex and slippery, good reporting requires the exercise of the highest of the scientific virtues. They are the habits of ascribing no more credibility to a statement than it warrants, a nice sense of the probabilities, and a keen understanding of the quantitative importance of particular facts.

From there, an entire industry is born. Prior to Walter Lippmann, newspapers were either wildly sensationalist or they bore the name of a political party. Generally, the name of the political party in their title reflected the paper's partisan view. Such papers do still exist today, one such paper can be found Florida's Capital - the Tallahassee Democrat - but they are far and few inbetween compared to what they once were.

Lippmann's paragraph-long explanation is easily summed up in the book "The Elements of Journalism", on page 74:

in other words, the method is objective, not the journalist.

Of course, all of this is undermined by the dark side of modern journalism: its foundation of using strategically placed words to manipulate the readers.(Lippmann writes at length about how to manipulate the reading audience, here)

In addition to showing us where the ideal for so-called "objective journalism" comes from - the spirit of objective journalism; professor Streckfuss also puts on display where objectivity really gets fused together with journalism. In 1924, Nelson Antrim Crawford wrote a book titled "The Ethics of Journalism", in which he wrote the following:

"Aside from integrity, intelligence and objective-mindedness are the qualities most needed."

That's how these things get started. Note that Crawford did not come up with this idea all on his own by just plucking it out of thin air. A page search of Crawford's book reveals references to Walter Lippmann 20+ times.

Walter Lippmann really is the Father of Modern Journalism.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Socialism infecting the clergy


THREE hundred of the clergy of this country are declared to be allied with the Socialist movement by open profession, while many more are secretly in sympathy with the cause, but hesitate for prudential reasons to make an open avowal. Only a few years ago, it is stated, Socialist principles seemed to be confined to a small number of Unitarian preachers, "who, being radical in theology, readily became radical in sociology likewise." But now, we read in a statement issued by the Christian Socialist Fellowship, "not only do the Unitarians smell of the malady, but Episcopalians by the score, and numerous Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Disciples, Lutherans, Congregationalists, Universalists, and even Roman Catholics have become infected with the Socialist microbe and stricken with the disease." An active propaganda is contemplated by the ministers who have recently formed in New York what is to be known as the Ministers' Socialist Conference, which will hold closed sessions in order to avoid misrepresentation by the press. At a meeting held on April 29 a declaration of principles was adopted, and, as given to the press by the secretary, Rev. John D. Long, pastor of the Park Side Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, embodies the following purposes:

"The United States Government according to the Constitution is a government of, by, and for the people. We go a step further and say that the people should also own the means of production and distribution. We realize that this can not be brought about suddenly, but everything is tending that way. The post-office system, the water supply, the public-school system, and several other things now run by the Government are applied Socialism. We believe that a republic is one step from a monarchy to Socialism, and by evolution helped by education Socialism is bound to come. It may, we believe, take a generation to establish Socialism in place of the present forms of government, as the people will gradually have to overcome long-cherished prejudices before they are prepared for the new order of things.

"Meantime the evolution is going on. We believe that the trustification of lines of business is collective ownership for the benefit of the corporations and will be followed by collective ownership for the benefit of the people. The Ministers' Socialist Conference does not concern itself with election campaigns or the nomination of Socialist candidates, but takes up Socialism in the broad sense as the coming order of things, which it can help to hasten by educating the people to the realization that Socialism is the highest form of social and industrial development. Socialism will not come in the form of a sudden revolution, but will come naturally and logically. We believe in living up to our obligations as citizens under the present form of govemment until Socialism takes its place."

A convention will be held in New York from June 1 to June 3, so it is announced, to make the organization a national one. Dr. Long, in speaking on an earlier occasion to a representative of The Sun, said of the motives behind this movement :

"The clergymen who have affiliated with the new organization have come to the conclusion that Christianity will not work under a competitive commercial system and that the inauguration of Socialism is necessary for civilized human beings. We regard Socialism as the economic expression of the Christian life and believe that it is now the duty of the Church to step in and advocate Christian Socialism in the United States. H. H. Rogers in a recent magazine article said that business is war; and if business is war and if, as another man said, war is hell, then business and the competitive system must also be hell. Several of the trustees of the largest corporations are also behind the new movement, but their relations to us are of the most confidential nature and they have enjoined me from mentioning their names."

From statements made by Dr. Long we gather the following historical account of the larger organization, whose membership includes laymen as well as ministers. Considerable attention has recently been attracted to the meetings of the New York branch of this body which have occurred on Sunday evenings at the Church of the Ascension. The publicity gained by these Socialistic discussions finally proved distasteful to the vestry, and last week it was voted to eliminate this subject from future church meetings. Dr. Long thus presents the facts :

"The formation of the National Christian Socialist Fellowship dates from a conference held in Louisville, Ky., two years ago. One year since, a much larger conference was held in Chicago, and this year, May 28 to 31, a national conference is to be held in New York City.

"The movement at its beginning established a paper called The Christian Socialist, which is published in Chicago by a couple of preachers, Rev. E. E. Carr and Rev. J. O. Bentall. . . . . . .

"The object of the Christian Socialist Fellowship is declared to be 'To permeate churches, denominations, and other religious institutions with the social message of Jesus; to show that Socialism is the economic expression of the Christian life; to end the class struggle by establishing industrial democracy, and to hasten the reign of justice and brotherhood upon earth.'

"It is asserted that the movement is not political, yet it is admitted that it is through political action that its principles are to become operative, and it is not denied that those most active in pushing the propaganda are also active members of the Socialist party."

Friday, August 8, 2014

The American Yellow Press, by Sydney Brooks


By Sydney Brooks

The late Mr. Joseph Pulitzer was unquestionably one of the most remarkable personalities of latter-day America. Indomitable by nature, of quick, unshackled perceptions, passionate to learn and to experiment, and with a strong vein of idealism running through his lust for power and success and domination, he was fortunate in the fate that landed him, forty-seven years ago, in Boston when America was on the very point of plunging into the most amazing era of material development and exploitation that the world has yet witnessed. The penniless son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, young Pulitzer shifted from one occupation to another before he finally found his life-work in journalism. He was a soldier, a steamboat stoker on the Mississippi, a teamster, and, some say, a hackman and a waiter by turns before he became a reporter of a St. Louis newspaper. Once in journalism his daring and imagination and his avidity to master every detail of his profession quickly carried him to the front. He bought a St . Louis evening paper and converted it into the Post-Despatch, working it up into one of the most influential journals and most valuable newspaper properties in the Middle West.

In 1883 he purchased from Jay Gould the New York World, and almost to the day of his death, in spite of long absences and the appalling affliction of blindness, he remained its director and inspiration. Under his dashing guidance the World became the most fearless, the most independent, the most powerful, and also the most sensational journal in the United States. On the occasion of his sixtieth birthday Mr. Pulitzer sent a message to his staff in which he embodied his conception of a great newspaper: "An institution which should always fight for progress and reform; never tolerate injustice or corruption; always fight demagogues of all parties; never belong to any party; always oppose privileged classes and public plunder; never lack sympathy with the poor; always remain devoted to the public welfare; never be satisfied with merely printing news; always be drastically independent; never be afraid to attack wrong whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty." And in a codicil to his will, published on November 15th, he reiterated his journalistic ideals in the form of a last request and admonition to his sons: "I particularly enjoin on my sons and descendants the duty of preserving, perfecting, and perpetuating the World newspaper, to the maintenance and publishing of which I have sacrificed my health and strength, in the same spirit in which I have striven to create and conduct it as a public institution from motives higher than mere gain, it having been my desire that it should be at all times conducted in a spirit of independence and with a view to inculcating high standards and public spirit among the people and their official representatives; and it is my earnest wish that the said newspaper shall hereafter be conducted on the same principles."

These are high professions of faith, and the World in many ways has not fallen below them. Time and again Mr. Pulitzer risked popularity and gain and offended many powerful interests rather than compromise where he thought compromise to be wrong. Often reckless, prejudiced, and unfair in his onslaughts, he nevertheless rendered many public services, withstood the clamor of the hour at more than one fateful crisis, and preserved inviolate and incorruptible his ideal of independence. He was a man of real public spirit and of genuine political instinct, and the large sums he devoted to establishing a school of journalism in Columbia College bore witness to a pride in his profession to which no member of it can be indifferent. In his own distinctive phosphorescent way he meant to be, and was, a force for righteousness.

It is probable, however, that when the memory of his individuality has faded, Mr. Pulitzer will be chiefly remembered as the Father of the Yellow Press, or, at any rate, as the man who. if he did not originate yellow journalism, so greatly extended it as to make it appear his own invention, and who, if he left some of its least creditable excesses to others, was for long its best-known and most pyrotechnical practitioner. In that capacity his practice did not always square with his principles. There is no more vigorous or higher-minded journal in the United States than Collier's Weekly. In paying tribute to Mr. Pulitzer's memory and in emphasizing the vastness of the opportunity open to his sons and successors, that admirable organ recently remarked: "Upon them is the burden of showing originality and strength, like their father, but of applying those qualities to a changing era. The forward spirit that he showed in attacking social feudalism, they will find themselves called upon to apply to the pressing task of helping to take graft and falsehood out of journalism itself. He never cared to do his share toward removing the loan shark and the patent-medicine poisoner by forbidding them the use of his own columns.

The news also needs to be treated with more responsibility. We will give an instance from a recent day. A young stenographer, passing from a street car to her home a block away after nightfall, felt a man's fingers clinch about her neck, and when she reached her hands towards the fingers she found that they were very large. Twenty minutes later the girl's mother found her on the sidewalk, weeping hysterically, and able to remember only that she had been strangled. Next day in the Evening World it was stated on the authority of an examining physician that the girl's skull was fractured, her jaw broken, her breasts, face and arms terribly bitten, 'as a mad dog might have torn the victim of an infuriated attack,' and her body covered with bruises from blows struck by a club of which the girl cried out deliriously; lusty bloodhounds led a horde of officers In uniform and a score of detectives across the countryside. Actually there were no bloodhounds, no pursuing policemen in uniform, no bites, no fractured skull, no broken jaw, no body bruises, and no club. As Joseph Pulitzer served his generation in his own direction, so his sons, we are sure, will serve a later generation in the light of present morals."

This willingness to sport with the facts and to insist on extracting "a thrill" from every incident is one of the distinctive characteristics of the Yellow Press. The World has been by no means immune from it. I remember reading in its columns a long interview with Mr. Pierpont Morgan of a most sensational character, and admirably contrived to embitter the working man against the capitalists. Mr. Morgan's inaccessibility to journalists is notorious, and the statements he was alleged to have made were of a kind to stamp the whole interview as a concoction from beginning to end. In a subsequent issue, when the damage had been done, the World acknowledged that It had been "imposed upon." At the same time, and side by side with its retraction, it published a series of comments on the alleged interview from a number of newspapers - a proceeding that might well have been taken as the text for a lecture in Mr. Pulitzer's School of Journalism.

To put the American Yellow Press in its proper light, one must remember that journalism, while a giant, is a very young one. In its present form it is the product of a quick succession of astounding inventions. The railway, the cable, the telegraph, the telephone, the rotary press, the linotype, the manufacture of paper from woodpulp, and color-printing - these are the discoveries of yesterday that have made the journal of to-day possible. We are still too near to the phenomenon to be able to assess its significance, or to determine its relations to the general scheme of things. Journalism still awaits its philosopher; awaits, I mean, someone who will work out the action and reaction of this new and tremendous power of organized, ubiquitous publicity upon human life. It has already, to all appearances, taken its place among the permanent social forces: we see it visibly affecting pretty nearly all we do and say and think, competing with the churches, superseding parliaments, elbowing out literature, rivalling the schools and universities, furnishing the world with a new set of nerves; yet nobody that I am aware of has yet attempted to trace out its consequences, to define its nature, functions, and principles, or to establish its place and prerogatives by the side of those other forces, religion, law, art, commerce, and so on, that, unlike journalism, infused the ancient as well as the modern world.

Journalism is young, and the problems propounded by the necessity of adjusting it to society and the State have so far been hardly formulated. Its youth must be its excuse for whatever flaws and excesses it has developed. The Yellow Press, as I view the matter, is a disorder of infancy and not of decrepitude; it is a sort of journalistic scarlet fever, and will be cured in time. And there are many reasons why it should have fastened upon America with particular virulence. Journalism there has run through three main phases. There was, first, the phase in which a paper was able to support itself by its circulation alone, in which advertisements were a minor consideration, and in which the editor, by his personality, his opinions, and his power of stating them, was the principal factor. But the day of the supremacy of the leading article perished soon after the Civil War. and there set in the era - it is just beginning with us - when the important thing was not opinion but news, and when the advertisers became the chief source of newspaper profits Speaking broadly, the centre of the power of the Press in the United States has shifted from the editorial to the news columns. Its influence is not on that account less operative, but it is, I should judge, less tangible and personal and more diffused, dependent, that is to say, less on editorial comment than on the skill shown in collecting the news of the day and in presenting it in a form that will express particular views and policies.

The ordinary American journal of to-day serves up the events of the preceding twenty-four hours from its own point of view, colored by its own prepossessions and affiliations, and the most effective propagandism for or against a given measure or man is thus carried on continuously, by a multitude of little strokes, in the news columns, and particularly in the headlines attached to them. Now the Americans have always taken a liberal, if not a licentious, view of the kind of news that ought to be printed. In a somewhat raw, remote, free and easy community, impressed with the idea of social equality, absorbed in the work of laying the material foundations of a vast civilization, eminently sociable and inquisitive but with comparatively few social traditions and almost no settled code of manners, it was natural enough that the line between private and public affairs should be loosely drawn. Moreover, the Americans have never enjoyed anything like the severity of our own libel laws. The greater the truth the greater the libel is not a maxim of American law. On the contrary, a statement, if published without malice, is held to be justifiable so long ns it can be shown to be true. Attempts have been made in some States to elevate a published retraction into a sufficient defence in a suit for libel, and to invest a reporter's "copy" with the halo of "privileged communication." Then, again, there is nothing in America that at all corresponds to our law of contempt of court . An American paper is entitled to anticipate the probable findings of a judge and jury, to take sides in any case that happens to interest it, to comment on and to garble the evidence from day to day, to work up sympathy for or against the prosecutor or defendant, and to proclaim its conviction of the guilt or innocence of the prisoner from the first moment of his arrest and without waiting for the tiresome formality of the verdict. Hardly an issue, indeed, appears of even the most reputable organs in the United States, such as the New York Sun, The Times, and the Evening Post, that would not land its publisher and editor in prison if the English law of contempt of court obtained in America.

Conditions such as these favored from the first the species of journalism which the world has agreed to designate as yellow. When James Gordon Bennett, for instance, started the New York Herald, he specifically, as he himself said in his salutatory, "renounced all so-called principles." He set out to find the news and to print it first; the more private and personal it was the better. He was more than once horsewhipped in the streets of New York. But that did little good. Bennett's reply was to bring out a flaming "extra" with a full account of the incident written in his own pungent English. The more he was horsewhipped the more papers he sold. 'From the success of the New York Herald may be dated that false conception of what news is, of the methods that may be employed in getting it, and of its importance to a newspaper that has since permeated nearly all American journalism. Mr. Pulitzer and Mr. Hearst have in reality done little more than to devote inexhaustible ingenuity, wealth, and enterprise to working the soil which Mr. Bennett long ago was the first to break. But their form of cultivation has been so intensive as to constitute by itself the third of the three phases through which American journalism has thus far passed.

The Yellow Press existed long before it was christened. It was not, indeed, until 1895, when Mr. Hearst came to New York intent on beating Mr. Pulitzer on his own ground and by his own weapons, that the type of journalism which emerged from their resounding conflict was labelled "yellow." As a mere uninitiated Englishman, resident at that time in New York, it seemed to me a contest of madmen for the primacy of a sewer. Sprawling headlines, the hunting down of criminals by imaginative reporters, the frenzied demand for their reprieve when caught and condemned, interviews that were "fakes" from the first word to the last, the melodramatization of the follies of the Four Hundred, columns of gossip and scandal that could only have emanated from stewards in the fashionable clubs or maids and butlers in private houses, sympathetic reports from feminine pens of murder, divorce, and breach of promise cases with a sob in every line, every incident of the day tortured to yield the pure juice of emotionalism beloved of the servants' hall - such was the week-day fare provided by the Yellow Press in those ebullient days. On Sundays it was much worse. It is on Sunday that the American papers, yellow and otherwise, put forth their finest efforts and produce their most flamboyant effects. The Sunday edition of a New York daily is a miscellany of from sixty to eighty pages that in mere wood-pulp represents a respectable plantation and that would carpet a fair-sized room. Of all its innumerable features the most distinctively yellow is the comic supplement printed in colors.

Nothing better calculated to kill the American reputation for humor has ever been conceived. It is a medley of knock-about facetiousness, through which week after week march a number of types and characters - Happy Hooligan, Frowsy Freddy, Weary Willie, Tired Tim, and so on - whose adventures and sayings make up a world that resembles nothing so much as a libellous vision of the cheapest music hall seen in a nightmare by a madman. And among the other attractions of these Sunday editions you will usually find a page or two given up to the doings and photographs of those preposterous actors and actresses who are so woefully smaller than the art they practise; and another page, fully illustrated, to society news and scandal; and a third page, and, with luck, a fourth, to the latest crime. The Yellow Press has consistently specialized in crime. I recall a famous issue of one paper that described and illustrated a hundred different ways of killing a man; and, indeed, a wouldbe criminal could hardly hope for a better school in which to master the theory of his profession. Pictures of men in masks in the act of blowing open a safe, of an embezzling cashier stepping on to the train for Mexico, of a drunken man assaulting his wife with a bootjack, of a youth drowning a girl he has betrayed, reproductions of the faces of murderers, of the rooms in which and the weapons with which their crimes were committed, precise and detailed descriptions of the latest swindling trick or embezzlement device or confidence game - even, in one case, I remember, a column and a half of exact information on the construction of an infernal machine and the best way of packing it so as to avoid detection in the post office - these are the aids with which the Yellow Press strews the path of the budding burglar, thief, and criminal.

But perhaps its greatest offence is its policy of perverting the truth in the interest of a mere tawdry sensationalism, of encouraging the American people to look for a thrill in every paragraph of news, of feeding them on a diet of scrappy balderdash. This habit of digging away for what is emotionally picturesque and "popular" has infected almost the whole of the American daily Press. Only a few months ago a professor of moral philosophy at Harvard was bewailing how egregiously he had been victimized by this policy. He was delivering an address at a girls' college in Boston on the higher education of women, and in the course of it he mentioned the case of a girl-student who had become so absorbed in her work as to lose all interest in social diversions. Her parents and friends pressed her to slacken off for a year or so and devote more time to balls and luncheons and so on. She came to him, the professor, for advice, tind he counselled her to do as she was urged. "Flirt," he said, "flirt hard and show that a college girl is equal to whatever is required of her." The professor, as I said, in the course of his address, which took about an hour to deliver, recalled this incident. He did not dwell on it; he made no other reference to it whatever; he said nothing at all about the place that flirtation should hold in a properly organized curriculum.

That same evening a Boston paper came out with a report of his "Address on Flirtation." The next day he was asked for but declined an interview on the subject. The interview, however, appeared, a column of imaginative literature, generously adorned with headlines and quotation marks, setting forth in the gayest of colors his "advocacy of flirtation." The professor, not being an ardent newspaper reader, did not realize what had happened until there suddenly began to rain upon him a succession of solemn or derisive editorials, letters from distressed parents, abusive post cards, and leaflets from societies for the prevention of vice with the significant passages marked. The bubble grew and grew; "symposia" were held by scores of papers on whether girls should flirt; the topic raged over the continent; and it soon became a settled conviction in the minds of some ninety million people, who at once proceeded to denounce his hoary depravity, that the professor of moral philosophy at Harvard was advocating a general looseness in the relations of the sexes. And that is the sort of buffoonery to which any man who opens his mouth in public in the United States is inevitably exposed.

But not all of the enormities of the Yellow Press were of their own commission. They fostered an appetite for sensationalism, and all sorts of news-bureaus and Press agencies came into existence to gratify it. More than once the yellow journals found themselves hoist with their own petard and tricked into publishing incidents that had never the slightest basis in fact. It is on record, for example, that the editor of one of these news agencies conceived one day a wonderfully plausible story of an attempted suicide in a fashionable doctor's office, the would-be suicide being rescued only by the timely intervention of the doctor. The thing never happened, but it might have happened, and he sat down and wrote a realistic account of it. This account he handed to a girl on his reporters' staff, telling her to take it to some prominent doctor and convince him of the numberless advantages, the prodigious advertisement, that would accrue to him if only he would endorse the tale. The first doctor she approached said he could stand a good deal in the way of exaggeration, but that he was not yet educated up to the point of swearing to the truth of a story that was an absolute lie.

The second, a physician known all over New York, bundled her out of the house in double-quick time. At the third attempt she was successful. She found a doctor, and a well-known one, too, who was delighted with the idea, and gladly closed with her proposal. They went over his consulting room together; the cord with which the patient had tried to strangle herself during the momentary absence of the doctor, the lounge to which she was removed, the restoratives applied, were all agreed upon. The story was then sent out to the newspaper offices; the doctor, being appealed to by the reporters, confirmed it in every detail: and it appeared in the next morning's papers, three-quarters of a column of soul-moving narrative, with the doctor's photograph and a sketch of his consulting room, and this final paragraph: "Owing to the urgent pleadings of the lady, Dr. ----- refuses to give the name and address of his patient, but says she belongs to one of the wealthiest and most exclusive social circles in the city." On the whole it would not be easy to conceive a deeper abyss of infamy.

It sometimes happened that the ingenuity of the sensation-mongers was wasted. When Mr. Henry Miller, for instance, was about to make his first appearance in New York as a star in a new play he received the following letter from the editor of one of these news bureaus: "Dear Sir, - You are probably aware that nowadays it is sensation and not talent that wins. As you are to make your first stellar appearance in New York, it is almost necessary that you do something to attract attention, and I have a scheme to propose. On Sunday night your house will be entered by burglars. They will turn the place upside down, and upon discovery pistol-shots will be fired. They will escape, leaving blood-stains upon the floor. You will get the credit of fighting single-handed twa desperate robbers. The New York Herald and the other morning dallies will get the story and the whole town will be talking about you. I will furnish the burglars and take all chances, and will only charge you $100 dollars for the scheme." Mr. Miller declined the offer, but it is amazing to discover whither the passion for advertisement in that land of advertisement will lead people.

I remember seeing in a New York paper a long article describing a house of Pompeian design, built of glass bricks and glass columns of all colors, that was to be erected at Newport for a Western millionaire by a well-known firm of city architects, whose name and address were given and who supplied the paper with interior and exterior plans of the projected buildings. It turned out that no such freak was ever contemplated, and that the architects, for such advertisement as it would give them, and the reporter, hungering for a sensation, had concocted the tale between them. To the same genesis, I should say, may be ascribed a paragraph about a chiropodist who announced that he had replaced a missing toe with one of solid gold. The weapon which the Yellow Press had forged was, in short, turned against them. There were cases in which conspiracies were formed between reporters and unscrupulous outsiders to procure the insertion of paragraphs and articles on which a libel action could be based against the papers publishing them. There were cases, too, in which the reporters who were detailed on some special mission - say, to interview the jurymen after a famous murder trial - would get together, ignore the refusal of the jurymen to be interviewed, and write out, each in his own style, what they ought to have said. There is really something more than jest in the old remark that Shakespeare would never have suited a New York newspaper; he had not sufficient imagination.

But the Yellow Press is not all evil and inanity. It has its virtues and its usefulness. The calculation which was the base of Mr. Hearst's invasion of New York was this. He added up the figures of the circulation of all the New York papers and compared them with the census returns of population. He found that there was a large number of people in New York who apparently never read, or at any rate never bought, a paper at all. These were the people he set out to cater for, and it is undoubtedly one of the merits of the Yellow Press that it has forced people to read who never read before. That, it may be said, is not rendering much of a service to the community if the type of reading provided was such as I have described. Well, I think that is arguable. In the first place, not all the columns of the Yellow Press, even in its yellowest days, were filled with the frivolities and slush I have touched on; and in the second place, Mr. W. Irwin, who has contributed this year a brilliant series of articles to Collier's Weekly on American Journalism, notes the very interesting fact that Mr. Hearst's papers, which one may take as fairly representative of the Yellow Press, appear to change their clientele once every seven or eight years.

From this Mr. Irwin comfortably infers that in general the more a man reads the better he reads. Once implant a taste for reading and the odds are that it will unconsciously improve itself, and will in time come to discard the tenth-rate in favor of the ninth-rate. Those who begin with Mr. Hearst's organs gradually find them out, grow disgusted, and desire something better. Sounder standards are thus in process of evolution all the time, and even the Yellow Press is affected by them and finds it to its interest to conform to them. Then, too, the Yellow Press attempts so much and covers such a wide field of life that some of its enterprises, by the mere law of averages, are bound to be beneficent. The New York American, for instance, in its news as well as its editorial columns has always paid special attention to matters of public health and domestic hygiene and the rearing of children and the care of the sick. In its own peculiar way, I should say it has sincerely tried to civilize its readers and make them think. Its columns have been the means of remedying hundreds of little injustices to the poor. A reader of the American or of the Evening Journal who is oppressed by his landlord or by the police, finds in his favorite paper a ready champion of his wrongs. The American is constantly risking the patronage of its advertisers by fighting drink and cigarettes. It is prolific of semi-philanthropic activities.

At the time of the Galveston flood and the San Francisco earthquake Mr. Hearst sent three full trains of provisions, clothing, medicines, doctors, and nurses across the Continent. The American conducts an admirable fresh-air fund; it takes a hundred children from the tenements every day throughout the summer for a day's outing at the seaside; it offers each year a two-weeks' vacation to the entire family having the largest number of children in the New York public schools; it distributes free ice in summer and free soup in winter and cartloads of toys at Christmas time; it is a newspaper, an adult kindergarten, and a charitable institution rolled into one. In the last Sunday edition that I happened to see, along with the comic supplement and plenty of inane gossip, I found an admirable article by d'Annunzio on the Italian expedition to Tripoli, and a very well-written and well-illustrated page given up to a popular digest of one of Reclus' works on anthropology. The Yellow Press gets most of what is bad in life into its columns but it does not exclude what is better. There is usually something to be found in it that is really instructive, and presented in a simple and stimulating fashion. It displays, of course, no sense of proportion whatever in arranging its news and in deciding between what is of real and permanent interest and what is merely and vulgarly ephemeral; the Christmas edition of a typical Yellow journal might easily print on one page Milton's Ode on the Nativity and on the next several columns of sketches and letterpress commenting on and illustrating the various styles of walking to be seen on Fifth Avenue among the members of the Four Hundred; but it is not irredeemably degrading.

But, besides all this, the Yellow Press in Mr. Pulitzer's and Mr. Hearst's hands has rendered some real public services. While most of the American daily papers in the big cities are believed to be under the influence of the "money power" and controlled by "the interests," the Yellow journals have never failed to flay the rich perverter of public funds and properties, the rich gambler in fraudulent consolidations, and the far-reaching oppressiveness of that alliance between organized wealth and debased politics which dominates America. They daily explain to the masses how they are being robbed by the Trusts, juggled with by the politicians, and betrayed by their elected officers. They unearth the iniquities of a great corporation with the same microscopic diligence that they squander on following up the clues in a murder mystery or on collecting or inventing the details of a society scandal.

Their motives may be dubious and their methods wholly brazen, but it is undeniable that the public has benefited by many of their achievements. The American criminal, whether he is of the kind that steals a public franchise or corrupts a legislature, or of the equally common but more frequently caught and convicted kind that rifles a safe or kidnaps a child, fears the Yellow Press far more than he fears the police or the public. Both Mr. Hearst and the late Mr. Pulitzer have not only saved millions of dollars to the public, but have fought a stimulating fight for democracy against plutocracy and privilege. The Yellow Press, in short, has proved a fearless and efficient instrument for the exposure of public wrong-doing. The political power which Mr. Hearst has built up on the basis of his Continental chain of journals represents something more than cheek and a check-book, pantomime and pandemonium. What gives him his ultimate influence is that he has used the resources of an unlimited publicity to make himself and his propaganda the rallying centre for disaffection and unrest.

With more point and passion and pertinacity than any other agency, his papers have stood for the people against the plutocracy, and for trade unions against capital, have assailed the "money power" and its control over the instruments of Government, have let daylight into the realities of American conditions, and have given pointed and constant expression to that weariness with the regular parties which is now pretty nearly a national sentiment. Daily expounded by Mr. Arthur Brisbane in the columns of the New York Evening Journal in a sharp, staccato, almost monosyllabic style of unsurpassable crispness, lucidity, and plausibility, set off with a coruscation of all known typographical devices, the Hearst creed and the Hearst programme have powerfully affected the imagination of the American, or at any rate the New York, masses. There is no stranger or more instructive experience than to get on a subway train in New York during the hours of the evening homeward rush and watch the laborer in his overalls, the tired shop girl, and the pallid clerk reading and re-reading Mr. Brisbane's "leader" for the day. He has, I suppose, a wider audience than any writer or preacher has had before.

Always fresh and pyrotechnical, master of the telling phrase and the captivating argument, and veiling the dexterous half-truth behind a drapery of buoyant and "popular" philosophy and sentiment, Mr. Brisbane has every qualification that an insinuating preacher of discontent should have. He, at any rate, has made the masses think - no man more so; the leading article in his hands has lost all its stodginess and restrictions, and become a vital and all-embracing instrument. That is something which would have to be borne in mind if one were to attempt the interesting but very serious task of estimating the influence of the Yellow Press on the American mind and character, and of determining how far it is responsible for, and how far the outcome of, the volatility and empiricism, the hysterical restlessness and superficiality, and the incapacity for deep and sustained thinking that have been noted in the American people. It seems hardly possible that even America should not pay something for its Yellow Press. I believe, however, that it is called upon to pay less and less as the years go on, and that the worst and most reckless days of yellow journalism are over.

Sydney Brooks.

The Fortnightly Review.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Significance of Yellow Journalism, by Lydia Kingsmill Commander



YELLOW journalism is outwardly distinguished by the flaring makeup of the paper, the striking headlines in startling type and the free use of illustrations; by the attention given to crime, sports, divorces and the tragic aspects of life in general; and by the constant appeal to the emotions in the presentation of the news. Human interest goes into every column; everything is a story and is told as such.

No papers were ever before, no others are now, so execrated and so beloved as are the yellow journals. But whether approved or condemned they must be considered, because of their tremendous influence. Their circulation figures are staggering. Not merely thousands, nor even hundreds of thousands, but millions of Americans read the yellow papers regularly. Therefore they cannot be ignored by anyone who would understand his age and his people.

The harshest criticism of yellow journalism is passed upon its method of obtaining circulation by indulging the low tastes of its readers. This is most reprehensible in the eyes of people of refined nature, who revolt at the details of crimes, despise prize-fights or horse-racing and loathe the exposure of family scandals.

But, after all, is not the difference between the readers and the critics of the yellow press one of cultivation, rather than of kind? The latter simply prefer scandal, crime and combat that deal with imaginary or historical characters. They are indifferent to the tragedy enacted yesterday in a slum tenement; but they follow with vivid interest the investigations of Sherlock Holmes; and thrill with the horror of Poe's tales or Balzac's gruesome stories or Stevenson's morbid, ghoulish, dual creature, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Is not the biography which stands preeminent in the opinion of the world - Boswell's Life of Johnson - a mass of petty, personal detail, a bundle of gossip? The high literary skill of the masterwriters makes yellow-journal subjects acceptable to the cultured few who turn with disgust from the crude newspaper of the multitude.

The very people who affect to despise the racing-reports of the yellow press attended in thousands the play of "Ben Hur," and in hundreds of thousands read the book; yet the whole interest of both centers around the chariot-race.

The Shakesperian tragedies and the Wagnerian operas, appreciation of which is supposed to unfailingly indicate a cultivated taste, are filled with battle, murder, tragedy and sudden death, such as would make first-class "copy" for the yellowest of journals.

Even the clergyman who denounces the sensationalism of the yellow press has possibly within the hour read aloud to an attentive and approving congregation a sanguinary chapter from the gory records of the Old Testament.

The public response to the yellow newspaper, the mighty circulation it rolls up, shows that it is just what the mass of people want. The finer a paper is the less it is in demand. This is a pity, but it is true; and the yellow journal looks the facts in the face, and appeals to people as they are. For the shortcomings of the yellow press we must blame the American people. As a whole we are interested in crime, scandal, prize-fights and horseracing. If we were not, the yellow journals would not be the most popular newspapers in the country.

But a sensational presentation of the news is not the only distinguishing characteristic of the yellow newspaper. If it were, there would be little to be said in its favor. The yellow journal, like the American people, though faulty in the extreme, has also its full share of virtues. It is vulgar and emotional; but it is kind and generous, active, wide-awake and progressive. It is bound to do many wrong things because it is doing something all the time. The only person who never does wrong is the one who never does anything. The man who never makes a mistake never makes anything else.

The yellow journal is not merely a newspaper; it is a living creature. It has a heart and conscience, as well as brains and strength. Other papers have opinions; it has feelings. It loves or hates, pities and protects or despises and exposes. Ordinary journalism talks; yellow journalism acts.

Each of the two great yellow papers of New York, the World and the Journal, has a colony of criminals in Sing Sing, offenders with whom the regular officers of the law either could not or would not deal, but whom the yellow press tracked and brought to justice. A few years ago a child was kidnapped and the police were powerless to find her. The Journal offered $2,000 reward and put its detective-reporters to work. The child was discovered and restored to her parents and the kidnappers, a husband and wife, are in penitentiary.

Quick-get-rich schemers, policy-kings, tricksters and thieves of every sort, as well as murderers, owe conviction and punishment to the activity and relentless pursuit of the yellow press. It would be impossible to enumerate a tenth of the crimes that have been exposed and criminals convicted by these papers. The law-breakers of New York fear yellow journalism far more than they do the police.

Yellow journalism guards the people's interests. Three summers ago the Ice-Trust had New York at its mercy, when ice meant life to hundreds, especially among the babes of the tenements. The price was raised to sixty cents a hundred and no five-cent pieces would be sold. This was annoying even to the well-to-do; but it brought suffering and death to the homes of the poor.

All the papers complained, but the Journal promptly began a lawsuit against the trust. Exposure, threats and legal action combined to destroy the ring, reduce the price of ice and restore to the poor the five-cent pieces which were all they could afford.

Two years ago gas was soaring in price and diminishing in supply while by some trickery meters measured incredible measurements. The World made a systematic examination, exposed the roguery, and cut the gas-bills of the city in two.

A few years since a scheme was put on foot to get possession of the New York city water-supply. It was a plausible plan; and in order to make it work reflections were cast upon the purity of the present sources. The two yellow papers were roused and vied with each other in exposing the treachery. They had investigations made by competent men and published sworn statements that convinced the people and threw the schemers out.

The activity of the Journal in its opposition to the Remsen gas-steal and its present suit against the Coal-Trust, which is bringing to light the unscrupulous and lawless methods of that oppressive combine, are present-day history.

Yellow journalism is a strong educational force. In the first place it teaches people to read regularly, who have never looked at print before. The great circulations of the yellow journals do not lessen those of other papers, but rather increase them; for the person who has learned to read one paper is apt to buy more.

In gathering the world's news, which is contemporanous history, the yellow journals are stopped by no trouble, staggered by no expense. The Journal has a wire to San Francisco which costs it $300 a day. Both papers keep representatives not only in the prominent cities and countries, as all modern newspapers must, but in the remote corners of the earth. The result is that they obtain the first and the most detailed news from everywhere, sometimes at almost unbelievable cost.

But in addition to the news, the yellow papers constantly record the progress of science, invention and exploration. Every new discovery is chronicled in language so simple that a child of ten or twelve can understand it. The most ignorant classes of the community are kept informed of the work of the leading inventors and the discoveries of the great biologists, chemists, travelers and astronomers. They know something of radium, N-rays and Sir William Ramsey's five new elements.

This puts the mass of the nation in touch with the highest work of the world, thus creating a public sentiment favorable to progress and encouraging the development of science. If there seem to be no relation between the achievements of our scientific men and the approval of the ignorant, it need only be remembered that a few centuries ago every effort to widen human knowledge was met with stern opposition; and the daring man who would add a new contribution to the sum of truth was apt to pay for his hardihood with his life. Gutenberg, Coster, Faust, Pfiester, Castaldi, Mentol and Valdfoghel were all persecuted by their generation because they invented type. That same type has so educated people that to-day X-rays and wireless telegraphy meet a warm and ready welcome. All progress is ultimately based on the intelligence of the majority.

Supplementing its, accounts of actual achievements, the Journal frequently gives, in simple language, the gist of valuable but abstractly-written books by great thinkers. Sometimes the editorial columns of that paper will contain a review of a new scientific or philosophical work of which the majority of people would never otherwise hear. Two summers ago it published serially the entire Life of Jefferson by Thomas E. Watson.

In the course of a year the World and the Journal publish articles from the majority of the leaders of thought in this country, and many from prominent foreigners. Almost every man and woman of note at some time contributes to the yellow press. It would be much easier to give a list of those who never write for these papers than to enumerate those who do.

These articles, which go to the people for a penny, or, in the Sunday edition, for five cents, are often secured at considerable expense. A recently-returned explorer was paid $300 by one of the yellow papers for a Sunday story of about eight hundred words. A much-coveted article from an eminent public man cost the same paper $450. $2,000 a year was offered to a prominent divine for a monthly sermonette of five hundred words; and one dollar a word promised to a famous American author for a thousand-word story. All this matter is given to the public at a price which does not pay for the white paper on which it is printed. It is education for the people, practically free.

Several years ago the Journal sent three boys, one from New York, one from San Francisco and one from Chicago, around the world by different routes, to see which would first make the circuit. The boys were selected by means of a literary and athletic contest in the schools of their respective cities, and each was accompanied on his trip by a reporter. Accounts of their travels were published daily and the countries through which they passed described, thus improving the geographical knowledge of all who followed them. To stimulate interest prizes were given to a boy and a girl in each the three cities who could first guess which contestant would win the race and tell most nearly at what time he would again reach his home. The prizes were trips, - one a ten-days' sojourn at the Buffalo exposition in care of a guardian, all expenses defrayed by the Journal.

Every year thousands of dollars are distributed by the yellow papers as rewards for the display of intelligence. Prizes for puzzles, for the best letter on some subject or the cleverest way of meeting some emergency are continually offered.

Nor is the physical side of education neglected. Exercises are described and illustrated, big prices being paid to specialists for the articles. Food, clothing, the care of children and of the sick, what to do in cold weather and what not to do when it is hot, the care of the hair, the hands and the complexion, all in turn receive the attention of the yellow journals and are discussed, - not in back columns tucked away, but on the editorial page as often as not. Everything is told the people that can help to make them comfortable, healthy, happy and intelligent.

Letters of inquiry on any subject receive careful attention. When necessary money as well as time is spent to acquire the information sought. Each of the yellow journals keeps open, from June till September, a number of " Information Bureaux," to give to the public, free of charge, all that can be known in regard to summer trips, hotels, cottages for rent, etc. Each paper publishes yearly an almanac which is a condensed encyclopaedia.

Morality also receives attention. Not another paper in New York would unite with the Journal in its present active attack on whiskey. For over a year past it has been publishing editorials and cartoons against liquor. For a long time it had a daily record of the crimes and evils traceable to drink, which were chronicled in the day's news. Naturally it has lost all its whiskey advertising, - worth $100,000 a year. Both the World and the Journal are strenuous opponents of cigarettes, at the cost of valuable advertising contracts. These papers continually deal editorially with the various vices of humanity, in language absolutely simple but so forceful that the most careless or hardened must be impressed.

The yellow journals are full of sympathy. They are like human beings, with big, kind hearts. Whenever and where-ever there is trouble they spring to the rescue. When the great Galveston flood brought devastation and death to a whole city, almost overnight the Hearst papers, in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, equipped three full trains with provisions, clothing, medicines, bandages, doctors and nurses and sent them flying across the country to the suffering survivors. The World sent a similar train from New York. Such help, in proportionate measure, has been despatched by either or both of the great yellow papers to the scene of every extensive catastrophe.

In the city the yellow journals are the constant resource of the unfortunate. If a child is stolen, a young girl lured from her home, a husband or wjfe deserts the family, or an aged relative wanders away, the police may fail to locate the missing one; but those bereaved turn, with child like faith, to the yellow journals, which seldom are unable to solve the mystery of the disappearance.

Those who suffer injustices and report their grievances to either of the yellow journals find a prompt and powerful friend. This is realized by the poor, who endure a thousand petty but bitter wrongs. My laundress recently told me of the oppression of one of her neighbors, by an overbearing landlord, and concluded with: "Do you think I'd stand that? Well, I wouldn't! I'd go right straight and tell the Journal!"

All summer long the World and the Journal rival each other in kindness to the poor. The World has a "Fresh-Air Fund," for sending little ones to the country. It receives contributions; but much of the money the paper itself supplies.

During the month of July the Journal gives free excursions to a nearby beach. About a hundred children are taken daily, always under the charge of responsible people. They get the trip, their mid-day meal, a bath in the ocean, a play on the sands and entrance to many of the amusement places with which beaches abound.

A year ago the same paper offered a two-weeks' vacation, at a beach or in the mountains, to the entire family having the largest number of children attending the public-schools of the city. Two families having an equal number (eight, I think) applied. The paper generously rose to the occasion and sent one family to the mountains and the other to the beach for a glorious fortnight.

Each December for several years the Journal has asked all children not expecting a visit from Santa Claus to send in word what toys they want. Every address and request is recorded. On Christmas day, from early morning till late at night the city is traversed by a score of great vans, each loaded with toys, in charge of a Santa Claus. Trip after trip is made and load after load of toys distributed. When all who have written have been supplied the vans drive up and down the poorest streets, bestowing Christmas cheer on every waif of the side-walk. It is because of such kindnesses that the people love the yellow journals and listen to their teachings.

The two principal educational forces in this country are the public-schools and the newspapers. With the young the schools deal more or less successfully. But among the mature we have great masses of people who are densely ignorant. Some have missed school through going to work in childhood; some live in states where the public-schools are very inefficient; and some are immigrants.

We have over two and a quarter millions of males of voting age, classified in the census as "illiterate." We have over a million and a half people above ten years of age who are unable to speak English. Over five millions of our male voters are foreign-born. There are, besides, over a million men of voting-age, who are foreigners yet unnaturalized. Altogether we have a foreign-born population of more than ten and a quarter millions; and it is being tremendously increased every year. Nearly a million immigrants came in last year, and no lessening of the tide is at present reported.

Nor is this foreign element homogeneous. All the principal countries of the world contribute to it. Russian Jews, Italians, Germans, Irish, Poles, Hungarians, Greeks and Assyrians alike come to the United States and amalgamate with the American nation. Some of our immigrants are intelligent, high-class people, the best their native lands can supply. But many are illiterate and crushed peasants, needing training of every sort. All require to be taught American ideas and ideals.

We have, too, an enormous native population on a very low level of intelligence. Many who can read and write, and thus escape the classification "illiterate," are still extremely ignorant. Yet, if men, they can vote and help to determine the destiny of the nation. Altogether the foreign and the ignorant comprise the bulk of the American people.

The principal problem that confronts us in our struggle to develop an American democracy, is the education and uplifting of this vast mass. We meet the question of enlightening children with our compulsory education acts; but we cannot force knowledge upon grown people.

Theories of every sort are constantly advanced; but the one institution that is successfully coping with this problem, day after day, and getting practical results, is the yellow journal. It gives the people what they want, - sensation, crime and vulgar sports, - thus inducing them to read. But having secured its audience, it teaches them, simply, clearly, patiently, the lessons they need.

Undeniably the yellow journals are not "nice" and "proper." But neither are the people they are intended to reach. When a new employee begins work on one of the yellow papers his first experience is apt to be an interview with the editor-in-chief, during which the tactics and purposes of the paper are explained to him.

"We don't think our paper is 'nice,'" says the editor. "But we do know it reaches the people. It is our intention to teach the people, and the first step is to get them to listen to us. We believe that it is better to raise a whole city one inch than to hoist a few men or women ten feet in the air."

That is the principle of yellow journalism. It appeals to two classes of people, - those who need it and those who understand it. There remain many who disapprove, either because they have a superficial acquaintance with the papers they criticise or because they judge everything in the world by its relation to themselves.

There are literary papers enough, but who in the tenements reads them? No one; for they are written only for the educated, in utter disregard of the great majority who most need instruction. Their very language puts them beyond the comprehension of any but the fairly educated.

The literary law of the yellow journals, on the contrary, is simplicity and vividness. To the World employes Mr. Pulitzer says: "Write every sentence so that the most ignorant man on the Bowery can understand it," and the primary mandate of the Journal is "Simplify!"

Thus, in the adult kindergarten of yellow journalism, the great underlying mass of the nation, formerly unconsidered and untaught, are prepared for the duties of American citizenship.

Lydia Kingsmill Commander.

New York, N. Y.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Associated Press, by Melville Stone




WITH the accession of Mr. William Henry Smith to the office of general manager of the Associated Press, less than twenty-five years ago, there came a change for the better in the administration. The Western papers which had been admitted to a share in the management demanded more enterprise and a report of more varied character. The policy of limiting the field to "routine news" - sport, markets, shipping, etc. - was abandoned, and the institution began to show evidences of real journalistic life and ability. It startled the newspaper world by occasionally offering exclusive and well-written items of general interest. When Mr. Elaine was closing what promised to be a successful political campaign in 1884, it was an Associated Press man who shattered all precedents, as well as the candidate's hopes, by reporting Dr. Burchard's disastrous "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" speech. This was then an unheard-of display of enterprise.

Two years later, the same reporter scored again. He had been sent to Mount McGregor with many others to report General Grant's last illness. He was shrewd enough to arrange in advance with the doctor for prompt information of the final event. A system of signals had been agreed upon, and when, one day, the doctor sauntered out upon the veranda of the Drexel cottage and drew a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his hands, the reporter knew that the general was dead and telegraphed the fact throughout the world. For months afterward it was spoken of with wonder as the Associated Press "scoop."


Then came the Samoan disaster, in 1885, and with it a disclosure that an Associated Press man might not only be capable of securing exclusive news, but might also be able to write it in a creditable way. Mr. John P. Dunning of the San Francisco bureau happened to be in Apia when the great storm broke over the islands. In the roadstead were anchored three American war-vessels, the Trenton, Nipsic, and Vandalia; three German warships, the Adler, Olga, and Eber; and the British cruiser Calliope. All of the American and German ships were driven upon the coral reefs and destroyed, involving the loss of one hundred and fifty lives. The Calliope, a more modern vessel with superior engines, was able to escape. As she pushed her way into the heavy sea, in the teeth of the hurricane, the jackies of the Trenton dressed ship, while her band played the British national anthem. It was a profoundly tragic salutation from those about to die.

Mr. Dunning's graphic story, which will long be accepted as a masterpiece of descriptive literature, was mailed to San Francisco, and a month later was published by the newspapers of the Associated Press. It was a revelation to those who had long believed the organization incapable of producing anything more exciting than a market quotation. It was also an inspiration to those who were to succeed Mr. Smith in the administration of the business. It revealed the possibilities in store for the association.

In the earlier days telegraphic facilities were so limited and the cost of messages was so great that it was necessary to report everything in the briefest form. It was enough that the facts were disclosed, and little heed was paid to the manner of presentation. Moreover, a great majority of those writing the despatches were telegraph operators, destitute of literary training.

The advantages of an Associated Press newspaper were very great. It was scarcely possible for a competitor to make headway against the obstacles which he was compelled to face. Not only was the burden of expense enormous, but the telegraph company which was in close alliance with the association frequently delayed his service, or refused to transmit it at any price. It followed that the quantity of news which an editor was able to furnish his readers became the measure of his enterprise and ability. It was his proudest boast that his paper printed "all the news." James Gordon Bennett, St., of the New York "Herald," and Wilbur F. Storey of the Chicago "Times," set the pace, and won much fame by lavish expenditures for telegrams, which were often badly written.


As new cables were laid, and land wires were extended, and rival telegraph companies appeared, the cost of messages was reduced, and there came a demand for better writing and better editing. The hour for selection in news had arrived. It was obvious that no editor could any longer print all the information offered him, and it was equally evident that the reader, whose range of vision had been surprisingly widened by the modern means of communication, had neither time nor inclination to read it all. Editors who could and would edit were required. Newspapers presenting a carefully prepared perspective of the day's history of the world were needed.

Thus was clearly outlined the path along which the Associated Press must travel. Its resources were unlimited. Through its foreign alliances, it had a representative at every point of interest abroad; and, through its own membership, it was able to cover every part of the United States. It was only necessary to organize, educate, and utilize these forces. Strong men, specially trained for the work in hand, must be chosen, and stationed at strategic points. The ordinary correspondent would not do; indeed, as a rule, he of all men was least fitted for Associated Press work. Writing for a single newspaper, he might follow the editorial bias of his journal; and even though he was inexact, his statements were likely to pass unchallenged. In writing for the Associated Press any departure from strict accuracy and impartiality was certain to be discovered.

But the strategic points were not the only ones to be looked after. News of the highest importance, requiring for its proper treatment the best literary skill, was sure to develop in the most remote quarters. To find men in these out-of-the-way spots, imbued with the American idea of journalistic enterprise, and qualified to see an event in its proper proportions and to describe it adequately and vividly, was a serious undertaking. Yet the thing must be done, if the ideal service was to be reached.


Within the limits of the United States, the task was a comparatively easy one. Here men of the required character were obtainable. It was only necessary to select them with care and to drill them to promptness, scrupulous accuracy, impartiality, and a graphic style. So wide-spread is American education that it was soon discovered that the best men could usually be found in the villages and the smaller cities. They were more sincere, better informed, and less "bumptious" than the journalistic Gascons so frequently employed on the metropolitan press.

For the foreign field, greater obstacles were presented. Our methods were not European methods, and the Europeans were not news-mad peoples. At the best; the contributions of any news-agency to the columns of any foreign newspaper were exceedingly limited and prosaic. This is particularly true upon the Continent, where the journals devote themselves chiefly to well-written political leaders and feuilletons, and where news has a distinctly secondary place.

I took up the subject with the chiefs of the foreign agencies. Fortunately, in Baron Herbert de Reuter, head of the great company which bears his name, I found a sympathetic ally. During twelve years of intimate intercourse with him, he has shown at all times journalistic qualities of a very high order. A man of brilliant intellect, scholarly, modest, having a keen sense of the immense responsibility of his office, but of nervous temperament and tireless energy, he has shared every impulse to reach a higher level of excellence in the service. With his cooperation and that of Dr. Mantler, chief of the German agency, a zealous and efficient manager, but lacking the encouragement and stimulus of a news-reading and news-demanding public, substantial progress was made. The object desired was a correct perspective of the daily history of the world.

The end could not be reached at a single bound. Long-continued effort and the exercise of no small degree of patience were necessary. What has been done may perhaps best be illustrated by a few examples. When Mr. Chamberlain resigned from Mr. Balfour's ministry two years ago, it was the Associated Press in London which gave this news to the world; and when the Alaskan Commission was summoned to meet in London in the autumn of 1903, the keenest interest in its deliberations was manifested in both countries, and the efforts of the Associated Press were naturally bent on keeping its readers fully informed of the deliberations of the commission. A few minutes after the final decision of the commission was reached, one Saturday evening, it had been flashed across the Atlantic. No official confirmation of this fact was obtainable in England until the meeting of the commission on Monday; but so implicit was the confidence felt in the news which had been published in America by the Associated Press that the English papers accepted its statements as true.


On the afternoon of September 6, 1901, worn out by a long period of exacting labor, I set out for Philadelphia, with the purpose of spending a few days at Atlantic City. When I reached the Broad-street station in the Quaker City, I was startled by a number of policemen crying my name. I stepped up to one, who pointed to a boy with an urgent message for me. President McKinley had been shot at Buffalo, and my presence was required at our Philadelphia office at once. A message had been sent to me at Trenton, but my train had left the station precisely two minutes ahead of its arrival. Handing my baggage to a hotel porter, I jumped into a cab and dashed away to our office. I remained there until dawn of the following morning.

The opening pages of the story of the assassination were badly written, and I ordered a substitute prepared. An inexperienced reporter stood beside President McKinley in the Music-hall at Buffalo when Czolgosz fired the fatal shot. He seized a neighboring telephone and notified our Buffalo correspondent, and then pulled out the wires, in order to render the telephone a wreck, so that it was a full half-hour before any additional details could be secured.

I ordered competent men and expert telegraph operators from Washington, Albany, New York, and Boston to harry to Buffalo by the fastest trains. All that night the Buffalo office was pouring forth a hastily written, but faithful and complete account of the tragedy, and by daybreak a relief force was on the ground. Day by day, through the long vigil while the President's life hung in the balance, each incident was truthfully and graphically reported. In the closing hours of the great tragedy false reports of the President's death were circulated for the purpose of influencing the stock-market, and, to counteract them, Secretary Cortelyou wrote frequent signed statements, giving the facts to the Associated Press.


On the night of May 3, 1902, a brief telegram from St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, reported that Mont Pelee, the volcano on the island of Martinique, was in eruption, and that the town of St. Pierre was enveloped in a fog and covered with ashes an inch deep. Cable communication was cut off. The following morning 1 set about securing the facts. We had two correspondents on the island, one at St. Pierre and the other at Fort de France, nine miles away; but clearly neither of these could be reached.

Fortunately, investigation disclosed that an old friend, a talented newspaper man, was the United States consul at Guadeloupe, an island only twelve hours distant. I instantly appealed to the State Department at Washington to give him a leave of absence, and, when this was granted, I cabled him to charter a boat and go to St. Pierre at once, add secure and transmit an adequate report. The Associated Press men at St. Vincent, St. Thomas, Porto Rico, Barbados, Trinidad, and St. Lucia were instructed to hurry forward any information that might reach them, and to endeavor to get to Martinique by any available means. St. Thomas alone was able to respond with a short telegram, three days later, announcing the destruction of the Martinique sugar-factories, which were only two miles distant from St. Pierre. The despatch also reported the loss of one hundred and fifty lives, and the existence of a panic at St. Pierre because of the condition of the volcano, which was now in full eruption and threatening everything on the island. Mr. Aym6, the consul at Guadeloupe, found difficulty in chartering a boat, but finally succeeded, and, after a thrilling and dangerous night run through a thick cloud of falling ashes and cinders, arrived before the ill-fated city. The appalling character of the catastrophe was then disclosed. Thirty thousand people, the population of the town, had been buried under a mass of hot ashes; one single human being had escaped. It was enough to make the stoutest heart grow faint.

But Ayme was a trained reporter, inured by long experience to trying scenes; and he set to work promptly to meet the responsibility which had been laid upon him. Our St. Pierre man had gone to his death on the common pyre, but Mr. Ivanes, the Associated Press correspondent at Fort de France, survived. With him Mr. Ayme joined effort, and, with great courage and at serious risk, they went over the blazing field and gathered the gruesome details of the disaster. Then Mr. Ayme wrote his story, returned to the cable-station at Guadeloupe, and sent it. It was a splendid piece of work, worthy of the younger Pliny, whose story of a like calamity at Pompeii has come down to us through two thousand years. It filled a page of the American newspapers on the morning of May 11, and was telegraphed to Europe. It was the first adequate account given to the world. Mr. Ayme returned to Martinique and spent three weeks in further investigation, leaving his post of duty only when the last shred of information had been obtained and transmitted. As a result of his terrible experience, his health was impaired, and, although he was given a prolonged leave of absence, he has never recovered. It cost the Associated Press over $30,000 to report this event.


The illness and death of the late Pope constituted another event which called for news-gathering ability of a high order. Preparations had been made long in advance. Conferences were held with the Italian officials and with the authorities at the Vatican, all looking to the establishment of relations of such intimacy as to guarantee us the news. We had been notified by the Italian Minister of Telegraphs that, because of the strained relations existing between his government and the papal court, he should forbid the transmission of any telegrams announcing the Pope's death for two hours after the fatal moment, in order that Cardinal Rampolla might first notify the papal representatives in foreign countries. This was done as a gracious act of courtesy to the church.

To meet the emergency, we arranged a code message to be sent by all cable-lines, which should be addressed, not to the Associated Press, but to the general manager in person, and should read: "Number of missing bond, _______. (Signed) Montefiore." This bore on its face no reference to the death of the Pontiff, and would be transmitted. The blank was to be filled with the hour and moment of the Pope's death, reversed. That is, if he died at 2 :53, the message would read: "Melstone, New York. Number of missing bond, 352. (Signed) Montefiore." The object of reversing the figures was, of course, to prevent a guess that it was a deception in order to convey the news. If the hour had been properly written, they might have suspected the purport of the message.

When, finally, the Pope died, although his bed was completely surrounded by burning candles, an attendant hurried from the room into an anteroom and called for a candle to pass before the lips of the dying man, to determine whether he still breathed. This was the signal for another attache, who stepped to the telephone and announced to our correspondent, two miles away, that the Pope was dead. Unfortunately, the hour of his death was four minutes past four, so that whichever way it was written, whether directly or the reverse, it was 404.

Nevertheless, the figures were inserted in the blank in the bulletin which had been prepared, it was filed with the telegraph company, and it came through to New York in exactly nine minutes from the moment of death. It was relayed at Havre, and again at the terminal of the French Cable Company in New York, whence it came to our office on a short wire. The receiving operator there shouted the news to the entire operating-room of the Associated Press, and every man on every key on every circuit out of New York flashed the announcement that the Pope had died at four minutes past four; so that the fact was known in San .Francisco within eleven minutes after its actual occurrence.

The Reuter, Havas, and Wolff agents located in our office in New York retransmitted the announcement to London, Paris, and Berlin, giving those cities their first news of the event. A comparison of the report of the London "Times" with that of any morning paper in the United States on the day following the death of the Pope would show that, both as to cjuantity and quality, our report was vastly superior. The London "Times" had a column and a half; the New York "Times" had a page of the graphic story of the scenes in and about the Vatican. The New York "Times" story was ours. This was so notable an event that it occasioned comment throughout the world.

During the illness of the Pope I ordered a number of the best men from our London, Paris, and Vienna offices to Rome to assist our resident men. The advantage of such an arrangement was that the London men were in close touch with church dignitaries of England, while our representatives from France and Vienna had their immediate circle of acquaintances among the church dignitaries of those countries. The result was that Mr. Cortesi, the chief of our Roman office, was perfectly familiar with the local surroundings and was on intimate terms with Drs. Lapponi and Mazzoni of the Vatican, as well as with the other resident officials of the church, and was always able to command attention from them. Besides, he had not only the advantage of the assistance of trained men from our other European offices, but he had also the advantage of their acquaintance. We were enabled day by day to present an extraordinary picture of the scenes at the Vatican, and day by day the bulletins upon the condition of the Holy Father were transmitted with amazing rapidity. The death-bed scenes at Buffalo, when President McKinley was lying ill at the Milburn house, were reported with no greater degree of promptness and no greater detail. The funeral scenes were also covered in a remarkably ample way, and with astounding rapidity. Then came the conclave for the election of a new pope. It was to be secret, and every effort was made to prevent its proceedings from becoming public. A brick wall was constructed about the hall to prevent any one having access to it. But, to the amazement of every one, the Associated Press had a daily report of all that happened. One of the members of the Noble Guard was an Associated Press man. Knowing the devotion of the average Italian for the dove, he took with him into the conclave chamber his pet dove, which was a homing pigeon trained to go to our office. But Cardinal Rampolla could not be deceived: he ordered the pigeon killed. Other plans, however, were more successful. Laundry lists sent out with the soiled linen of a cardinal, and a physician's prescriptions sent to a pharmacy, proved to be code messages which were deciphered in our office. We were enabled not only to give a complete and accurate story of the happenings within the conclave chamber, but we announced the election of the new Pope, which occurred about 11 A.m. in Rome, so promptly that, owing to the difference in time, it was printed in the morning papers of San Francisco of that day. We were also enabled to send the announcement back to Europe before it was received from Rome direct, and it was our message that was printed in all the European capitals. The Italian authorities did not interfere with these messages.


Of late years the international yacht races off Sandy Hook have, as a rule, been reported by wireless telegraphy. Stations have been erected on Long Island and on the coast of New Jersey, and a fast-going yacht, equipped with Marconi apparatus, has followed the racers. A running story, transmitted through the air to the coast, has been instantly relayed by land wires to the main office of the association in New York, and thence distributed over the country. Such a report of the contest costs over $25,000.


"Presidential years" are always trying ones for the management. In 1896 the friends of Speaker Reed were incensed because we were unable to see that a majority of the delegates to the Republican National Convention were Reed men. Not that I think they really believed this; but everything is accounted fair in the game of politics, and they thought it would help their cause if the Associated Press would announce each delegation, on its selection, as for Reed. They appealed to me; but of course I could not misstate the facts, and they took great umbrage. The St. Louis Convention, when it assembled, verified our declarations, for Mr. Reed's vote was insignificant.

The national conventions are our first care. Preparations begin months before they assemble. Rooms are engaged at all the leading hotels, so that Associated Press men may be in touch with every delegation. The plans of the convention hall are examined, and arrangements are made for operating-room and seats. The wires of the association are carried into the building, and a work-room is usually located beneath the platform of the presiding officer. A private passage is cut, connecting this work-room with the reporters' chairs, which are placed directly in front of the stand occupied by speakers, and inclosed by a rail to prevent interference from the surging masses certain to congregate in the neighborhood.

A week before the convention opens, a number of Associated Press men are on the ground to report the assembling of the delegates, to sound them as to their plans and preferences,'and to indicate the trend of the gathering in their despatches as well as they may. The National Committee holds its meeting in advance of the convention, decides upon a roll of members, and names a presiding officer. All this is significant, and is often equivalent to a determination of the party candidates.

Of the convention itself, the Associated Press makes three distinct reports. A reporter sits in the hall and dictates to an operator who sends out bulletins. These follow the events instantly, are necessarily very brief, and are often used by the newspapers to post on bulletin-boards. There is also a graphic running story of the proceedings. This is written by three men, seated together, each writing for ten minutes and then resting twenty. The copy is hastily edited by a fourth man, so that it may harmonize. This report is usually printed by afternoon papers. Finally, there is a verbatim report, which is printed by the large metropolitan dailies. A corps of expert stenographers, who take turns in the work, is employed. As a delegate rises in any part of the hall, one of these stenographers dashes to his side and reports his utterances. He then rushes to the workroom and dictates his notes to a rapid type-writer, while another stenographer replaces him upon the convention floor. The nominating speeches are usually furnished by their authors weeks in advance, and are in type in the newspaper offices awaiting their delivery and release.

The men who report these conventions are drawn from all the principal offices of the Associated Press. Coming from different parts of the country, they are personally acquainted with a large majority of the delegates. There is a close division of labor: certain men are assigned to write bulletins; others to do descriptive work; still others to prepare introductory summaries; a number to watch and report the proceedings of secret committees; and a force of "scouts" to keep in close touch with the party leaders, and learn of projects the instant that they begin to mature. Out of it all comes a service which puts the newspaper reader of the country in instant and constant possession of every developing fact and gives him a pen-picture of every scene. Indeed, he has a better grasp of the situation than if he were present in the convention hall.

When the candidates are named and the platforms adopted the campaign opens, and for several months the Associated Press faces steadily increasing responsibilities. The greatest care is observed to maintain an attitude of strict impartiality, and yet to miss no fact of interest. If a candidate, or one of the great party leaders, makes a "stumping journey," stenographers and descriptive writers must accompany him. While Mr. Bryan was "on tour," it was his practice to speak hurriedly from the rear platform of his train, and instantly to leave for the next appointment. While he was speaking, the Associated Press stenographer was taking notes. When the train started, these notes were dictated to a type-writer, and at the next stopping-point were handed over to a waiting local Associated Press man, who put the speech on the telegraph wires. In the general offices records are kept of the number of words sent out, so that at the end of the campaign the volume of Republican and Democratic speeches reported is expected to balance.

Finally, the work of Election Day is mapped out in advance with scrupulous care, and each correspondent in the country has definite instructions as to the part he is to play. On Election Day brief bulletins on the condition of the weather in every part of the nation, and on the character of the voting, are furnished to the afternoon papers. The moment the polls close, the counting begins. Associated Press men everywhere are gathering precinct returns and hurrying them to county headquarters, where they are hastily added, and the totals for the county on Presidential electors are wired to the State headquarters of the association. The forces of men at these general offices are augmented by the employment of expert accountants and adding-machines from the local banks, and the labor is so subdivided that last year the result of the contest was announced by eight o'clock in the evening, and at midnight a return, virtually accurate, of the majority in every State was presented to the newspapers. It was the first occasion on which the result of an American general election was transmitted to Europe in time to appear in the London morning papers of the day succeeding the election.


If I were not what Mr. Gladstone once called "an old parliamentary hand," if I had not given and taken the buffets of aggressive American journalism for many years, and if Heaven had not blessed me with a certain measure of the saving grace of humor, I think 1 should have been sent to an early grave by the unreasonable and unfair attacks made upon my administration of the Associated Press news service. In the exciting Presidential campaign of 1896, Senator Jones, the Democratic national chairman, openly charged me with favoring the Republicans; while Mr. Hanna, his opponent, was at the point of breaking a long-time personal friendship because he regarded me as distinctly "pro-Bryan." The truth is, both men had lost their balance; neither was capable of a judicial view; each wanted, not an impartial service, but one which would help his side. Fortunately, the candidates preserved a better poise than their lieutenants. At the close of the campaign both Bryan and McKinley wrote me that they were impressed with the impartiality which we had observed.

A former senator of New York controlled a paper at Albany and named one of his secretaries as its editor. Then trouble began to brew. Day after day I was plied with letters charging me with unfairness. Every time we reported a speech of President Roosevelt's I was accused of favoring the Republicans, while the failure to chronicle the result of an insignificant ward caucus in New Jersey was clear evidence that I was inimical to the Democrats. I patiently investigated each complaint, and explained that there were limitations upon the volume of our service; that the utterances of any incumbent of the Presidential office must properly be reported, while the result of a ward caucus must be ignored, if we were to give any heed to their relative news values. Still the young man was not happy, and, when I had done all that reason or courtesy required, I notified the senator, who had been inspiring the criticisms, that "I must decline to walk the floor with his infant any longer." That ended the matter.

During a congressional inquiry, a number of trade-unionists appeared and testified for days in denunciation of the Associated Press, because they conceived it to be unfriendly to their cause. More recently, but with equal injustice, the secretary of the Citizens' Industrial Association has been pelting me with letters charging our association with favoring organized labor.

When we reported the death of the late Pope in a manner befitting his exalted station, a number of Methodist newspapers gravely asserted that I was a Catholic, or controlled by Vatican influences, although, as a matter of fact, my father was a Methodist clergyman and my mother the grandniece of a coadjutor of John Wesley. On the other hand, not long since, when the Associated Press reported the Marquise des Monstiers's renunciation of the Catholic faith, certain Catholic newspapers flew into a rage and asserted that I was an anti-Catholic bigot.

The more frequent criticisms, however, result from want of knowledge of the true mission of the organization. Many persons, unfamiliar with newspaper methods, mistake special telegrams for Associated Press service, and hold us to an undeserved responsibility. Many others, having "axes to grind," and quite willing to pay for the grinding, find it difficult to believe that not only does the association do no grinding, but by the very nature of its methods such grinding is made impossible. The man who would pay the Associated Press for " booming" his project would be throwing his money away. Any man in the service of the association, from the general manager to the humblest employee, who should attempt to "boom '' a project would be instantly discovered, disgraced, and dismissed.

The four years' struggle with the United Press was waged over this principle. Victor F. Lawson of the Chicago "Daily News," Charles W. Knapp of the St. Louis "Republic," Frederick Driscoll of the St. Paul "Pioneer Press," and those associated with them in that contest, deserve the lasting gratitude of the American people for having established, at a vast cost of time, labor, and money, a method of news-gathering and distribution free from a chance of contamination. Seven hundred newspapers, representing every conceivable view of every public question, sit in judgment upon the Associated Press despatches. A representative of each of these papers has a vote in the election of the management. Every editor is jealously watching every line of the report. It must be obvious that any serious departure from an honest and impartial service would arouse a storm of indignation which would overwhelm any administration.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Significance of Mr. Hearst, by Sydney Brooks


By Sydney Brooks

It borders perhaps on unfriendliness to say that Mr. Hearst is typical of America. But he is certainly so far characteristic of his country that none other could have permitted him to become the social problem and the political force he unquestionably is. His career and his power, and the way in which he pursues the one and accumulates and utilizes the other, are salient and revealing precisely because they are abnormal. Just as it often needs an exaggeration to lay bare the heart of a truth, so the essentials of national conditions and tendencies are sometimes most clearly crystallized in their least representative products. Mr. Hearst fulfils with an overwhelming adequacy this function of illumination by distortion. He is the concave mirror of American life, journalism, and politics. Features in the national physiognomy that would otherwise pass unnoticed leap into a scandalizlng prominence under the reflex of his elongations and distensions. He may not be America, but he is undisguisably American; nor, even with the utmost goodwill, can one conceive him as being anything else. Millais was not more assuredly the John Bull of British art, nor the late Mr. Kensit of British theology, than is Mr. Hearst in his papers, his politics, and his influence, a summing-up of much that makes America so peculiarly American.

The achievements of all three bear the stamp of unmitigated nationality. No one could possibly have mistaken Millais for a Frenchman or Kensit for anything but what he was. Each was typical of his milieu to the negative degree of being impossible and unimaginable outside of it. In the same way, while Mr. Hearst, as an embodiment of his country, may be, and no doubt is, a caricature and a grotesque, Americans cannot disown or repudiate him. Unhappily for them, it but too often happens that a caricature is more lifelike than a photo-graph, and that over-emphasis does not obscure realities but heightens them. Mr. Hearst’s father was one of the hardest-headed and most fortunate of the Californian pioneers. Silver mines, copper mines, newspapers, railways, ranches, and, finally, a seat in the United States Senate, he amassed them all. Exploitation was his business, and politics his hobby, and with a fortune of four millions sterling it was a hobby he could afford to prosecute on a big scale. Of all his properties the San Francisco Examiner was the one that probably interested him the least. He had acquired it as part of the necessary equipment of a millionaire with many interests to protect and political ambitions to forward. It did not pay; it was not meant to pay: but it served its purpose as a mouthpiece for the local “magnates,” and it was part of the bargain that carried its proprietor to the Senate.

With that its mission in life was well-nigh over. In another few months Mr. Hearst would probably have unloaded it with the utmost efficiency upon the next millionaire in whose bonnet the political bee was buzzing. It was just at that moment that his son was expelled from Harvard for some mildly mischievous escapade, returned to San Francisco, utterly refused, on the ground that they did not interest him, to be harnessed to the paternal mines and ranches, and asked instead for the gift of the Examiner. It was handed over to him. The Senator was well pleased to find his amiable, indolent son develop a definite purpose, even though it lay in the incomprehensible direction of journalism; he had the curiosity of a great industrial gambler to see what he would make of so curious an enterprise; and he no doubt took it for granted that after playing for a few years with his new toy, the young man would settle down to the business of learning how to preserve, administer, and enlarge the fortune he was to inherit. But the son had other views. Journalism to him was not a parergon but a career. He had sat at the feet of Pulitzer and had studied the methods by which that consummate master of phosphorescent effects had raised the New York World to the unquestioned primacy of the sewer. He determined to be the Pulitzer of the Pacific Coast, and to conduct the Examiner with the keyhole for a point of view, sensationalism for a policy, crime, scandal, and personalities for a specialty, all vested interests for a punching bag, cartoons, illustrations, and comic supplements for embellishments, and circulation for an object. He entirely succeeded.

His father bore the initial expenses, and in return had the gratification of finding the Examiner turned loose among the businesses. characters, and private lives of his friends and associates. Hardly a prominent family escaped; the corporations were flayed, the plutocracy mercilessly ridiculed, and the social life of San Francisco, and especially of its wealthier citizens, was flooded with all the publicity that huge and flaming headlines and cohorts of reportorial eavesdroppers could give it. San Francisco was horrified, but it bought the Examiner; Senator Hearst remonstrated with his son, and to the last never quite reconciled himself to the "new journalism,” but he did not withhold supplies, and in a very few years the enterprise was beyond need of his assistance and earning a handsome profit. He marked, however, his sense of insecurity in his son‘s proceedings by leaving his fortune entirely in the hands of Mrs. Hearst, a lady whose unhappy fate it has been to furnish the son to whom she is devoted with the means of propagating a peculiarly disagreeable type of journalism.

It was about eleven years ago, when he had just turned thirty-three. that Mr. Hearst made up his mind to duplicate in New York the success he had met with in San Francisco. He bought up a disreputable sheet called the Journal, and proceeded to turn it into a rival that would meet and beat the World on the latter’s own ground. He justly argued that to do this he had, first of all, to make the Journal more notorious than the World; and it speaks well for his self-confidence that he did not at once dismiss such an ideal as absolutely unattainable. There is no need to go into the details of the resounding journalistic conflict that followed. Mr. Hearst began by winning over to his side most of the men whom Pulitzer had trained; Pulitzer bought them back again at an increased figure; Hearst finally annexed them with the bait of long contracts and more than ambassadorial salaries. He ransacked the magazines and the weekly papers for the best writers and the best artists; he produced a paper with as much wood pulp in it and as liberally bespattered with ink of every hue as the World, and he sold it for half the price. The fight was long, bitter, and ignoble, but the victory in the end went to the younger man.

He outbid the World at every point; he made it by contrast seem almost respectable. His headlines were longer by whole inches, his sensations more breathlessly acrobatic; if Pulitzer turned on a dozen reporters to unravel a murder mystery Hearst detailed twenty. There was, and is, an enormous amount of real talent and ingenuity in every issue of the Journal, but it was guided in those early days by no principle beyond that of securing a circulation at any cost. Other objects have influenced its policy and its ambitions since then, but its first business was to make itself known and talked of. It succeeded; the dishonor of selling the most papers in and around New York ceased to be Mr. Pulitzer’s; and the veteran practically retired from the contest when he disclaimed for the World the epithet of “yellow” which his rival boldly and openly gloried in. To-day the two papers are scarcely competitors; the World has retained its old footing and influence; and Mr. Hearst has discovered a new and larger class of readers, and invented for their delectation and his own advancement a new type of journalism.

Within the last few years the Journal has multiplied itself in many cities and under many aliases. Mr. Hearst now owns a Continental chain of eight papers published in the leading cities of America, and many weekly and monthly periodicals as well. Through them he daily addresses an audience of probably not less than four million people. All his publications are of the same saffron coloring; all belong emphatically to “the journalism that acts.” One cannot stay for long in any part of the United States without being confronted by the tokens of their activities. Whether it be rescuing a Cuban maiden from the clutches of a General Weyler, or dispatching relief trains to the scene of some great disaster, or distributing free ice in summer and free soup in winter, or taking out an injunction against a Trust, or setting forth with full illustrations a hundred different ways of killing a man, or fomenting a war, Mr. Hearst's papers are always “doing things.” And some of the things are worth doing.

That is a fact which the stupidity of Mr. Hearst’s enemies - and no man has ever been served so well by his foes - has yet to recognize. There is nothing to be said against this journals which in my judgment they do not deserve. But there is something to be said for them which has to be said if the nature of their appeal and of Mr. Hearst’s power is to be understood. While most of the American papers in the big cities are believed to be under the influence of “the money power," Mr. Hearst’s have never failed to flay the rich perverter of public funds and properties and the rich gambler in fraudulent consolidations. They daily explain to the masses how they are being robbed by the Trusts and the concession-hunters, juggled with by the politicians, and betrayed by their elected officers. They unearth the iniquities of a great corporation with the same microscopic diligence that they squander on following up the clues in a murder mystery or collecting or inventing the details of a society scandal. Their motives may be dubious and their methods wholly brazen, but it is undeniable that the public has benefited by many of their achievements.

When Mr. Hearst was running thirteen months ago for the Governorship of New York State no journal opposed him more strongly than Collier’s Weekly. But that admirable periodical which combines alertness with sanity, a perfect balance with perfect fearlessness, doubled the effectiveness of its opposition by admitting to the full Mr. Hearst's services to the community. “it is due to Mr. Hearst more than to any other man," it said, “that the Central and Union Pacific Railroads paid the £24,000,000 they owed the Government. Mr. Hearst secured a model Children’s Hospital for San Francisco, and he built the Greek Theatre of the University of California - one of the most successful classic reproductions in America. Eight years ago, and again this year, his energetic campaigns did a large part of the work of keeping the Ice Trust within bounds in New York. His industrious Law Department put some fetters on the Coal Trust.

He did much of the work of defeating the Ramapo plot, by which New York would have been saddled with a charge of £40,000,000 for water. To the industry and pertinacity of his lawyers New Yorkers owe their ability to get gas for eighty cents a thousand feet, as the law directs, instead of a dollar. In maintaining a legal department which plunges into the limelight with injunctions and mandamuses when corporations are caught trying to sneak under or around a law, he has rendered a service which has been worth millions of dollars to the public.” These are achievements the credit for which no fair-minded opponent can refuse to Mr. Hearst, nor do they make a meagre list. But Mr. Hearst’s own valuation of his public services is pitched in a much higher key. He has not, few American politicians can afford to have, any mock modesty. Not a Bill that he has supported passes, not a movement that he has once advocated succeeds, but Mr. Hearst claims the credit for it. In enormous headlines and with every artifice of capitals, italics, and cartoons his papers daily proclaim, and his four million readers hear and believe, that Hearst has forced a popular measure through a reluctant Congress, or exposed another financial “magnate,” or procured an official inquiry into the workings of some detested Trust, or rescued San Francisco from starvation.

The glorification of Mr. Hearst is, indeed, the first of the many queer enterprises in which his journals engage. His name appears on them all in unavoidable type; the leading articles bear his signature; the news columns “spread” themselves over his doings. No man has ever had at his disposal so vast an engine of publicity, and Mr. Hearst and his advisers are consummately skilled in working it. There were probably few Congressmen who spoke less or were more frequently away from Washington than Mr. Hearst during his four years’ membership of the national legislature. Yet there was none who made himself more conspicuous. Whenever he had a Bill to propose, a Bill drafted by his private attorney, the reporters and special correspondents from all his newspapers would descend upon Washington to “write it up."

Thus the working men had it screamed into them that Hearst had brought forward one Bill for establishing the eight-hour day in the Government arsenals, and another for relieving Trade Unions from their liabilities under the laws against combination, and a third for the national purchase of the telegraph lines, and a fourth for the institution of a parcels post. The farmers were made to realize that Mr. Hearst had introduced a Bill appropriating £10,000,000 to the building of good national roads; and all who had a grievance against the Trusts were enjoined in megaphonic tones to fall in behind the young Congressman who had framed one Bill empowering the Interstate Commerce Commission to fix railway rates and another facilitating and expediting prosecutions under the Anti-Trust Laws. And lest the more conservative elements in the country should be alienated, it was emphasized in a voice of thunder that Mr. Hearst had sought to raise the salaries of the Judges of the Supreme Court from £2,400 to £5,000 a year.

None of these Bills passed or had the remotest chance of passing, but they enabled Mr. Hearst to come before the public as the friend of the people, the champion of labor interests, and the foe of the corporations. Nothing that can add to the attractiveness of these roles is left unshrieked. Mr. Hearst is a generous employer; he pays if anything rather more than the highest rate of Trade Union wages; the salaries received by his staff of writers are probably unique in the history of journalism; all his newspaper properties are conducted on the eight-hour plan. These are the sort of facts that his papers never weary of hurling at the American public. He is the most widely and ingeniously advertised man in the world; his "boom" never slackens; no one’s voice reaches farther than his. The whole machinery at his command is worked to popularize the impression - which is not, I repeat, a wholly baseless one - that while other men are talkers, Mr. Hearst is a door, and that even Mr. Roosevelt, for all his sermonizing and with all the implements of official authority in his hand, has done less to shackle the Trusts and to uphold the rights of Labor than this private citizen working single-handed, on his own initiative and at his own expense.

When I was revisiting the United States some eighteen months ago I found no one, not even Mr. Roosevelt, more talked about than Mr. Hearst. But the talk was mainly a string of speculative interrogations. That he was a power every one, from the President downwards, admitted; some joyfully, some reluctantly, others with a shrug of disgust at the strange whims of democracy. But beyond that elementary acknowledgment everything was chaos and conjecture. I found no one who could tell me with the least assurance of certainty what manner of man Mr. Hearst was; whether he really believed in the policies he advocated, whether he had any ideas or convictions of his own, or whether he was merely a puppet in other and abler men’s hands. I was assured with equal positiveness that Mr. Hearst was the only genuine champion of the Havenots against the Haves, that he was a political mountebank and buffoon, that he was nothing but a notoriety-hunter, that he was a myth, and that his show of power was due to the dexterity of an adroit and supremely capable committee in the background.

No man, of course, who owns newspapers that are published in half-a-dozen cities, scattered over an area of three million square miles, and who is also the proprietor of a million acres of farm and ranch land, and a mine owner into the bargain, can possibly attend in person to the management of all his interests. Mr. Hearst has had the good sense not even to make the attempt. He has all of Mr. Carnegie’s genius for picking out the right man to do his work. Only where Mr. Carnegie capitalized brains and invested them in business, Mr. Hearst has invested them not only in business but in politics as well. He is the paymaster of a small, loyal, and brilliant organization. They do all the work; he takes all the public credit. The chief of this little band is Mr. Arthur Brisbane. It is he who formulates and expounds the Hearst creed in the editorial columns of the New York Evening Journal. His father was one of the most ardent of the Brook Farm fraternity, from which he separated because he could not engraft upon it the doctrines of Fourier.

The son, cosmopolitanly educated, with many of the attributes of a student and a scholar, has inherited his father’s Socialistic leanings. He has at all events an attractive and more or less definite creed of sympathy with the oppressed, the disinherited, the “less fortunate," as he is fond of calling them. He is a man of wide reading and a keen, open, and reflective mind; he writes with an unsurpassable crispness and lucidity; and he has invented a sharp staccato style which, when set off with a coruscation of all known typographical devices, has brought him a wider audience than any writer or preacher has had before. Always fresh and pyrotechnical, master of the telling phrase and the plausible argument, and veiling the dexterous half-truth beneath a drapery of buoyant and “popular” philosophy or sentiments, Mr. Brisbane has every qualification that an insinuating propagandist of discontent should have.

The leading articles that have made Mr. Hearst a household name among the laboring classes have all been written by Mr. Brisbane. He supplies the Hearst movement with its intellectual dynamics; Mr. Carvalho attends to the business of making it pay. Thirty years‘ experience of newspaper offices, and even more than the average American‘s instinct for organization, have put Mr. Carvalho in complete possession of all the details of advertising, circulation, distribution, and mechanical production. He is the business manager of all the Hearst newspaper properties, and in forwarding their development he shows none of that objection to Trust methods which animates Mr. Brisbane’s editorials. The belief is very common in America that, thanks to Mr. Carvalho's astuteness, Mr. Hearst’s political campaigns are practically self-supporting. They pay their way in the increased circulation of his journals. Two more of Mr. Hearst’s lieutenants deserve a passing word. One of them is Mr. Clarence Shearn, who takes charge of Mr. Hearst’s legal interests, drafts the Bills that Mr. Hearst used to introduce into Congress, starts proceedings every other month or so - always, of course, in Mr. Hearst’s name - against this or that Trust, and has the yet more arduous task of looking through Mr. Hearst’s New York papers before they go to press and deleting the libels. The other is Mr. Max Ihmsen, the political manager, whose business it is to found Hearst clubs, create Hearst sentiment, enrol Hearst delegates, conduct negotiations with rival bosses, and see to it that conventions do what is expected of them. Mr. Ihmsen was the Hearst candidate for Sheriff in the election three weeks ago, but suffered defeat.

These are the men who, working behind the scenes, without any observable friction, and with a complete suppression of personal ambitious - a collection of Mr. Brisbane‘s articles was published under the title of Hearst Editorials - have made the Hearst movement a reality. It throws a wholly new light on the possibiltles of electioneering to watch them working together in the heat of a campaign. There is not a device for attracting votes that they do not know and practise. Mr. Hearst’s cablegram to The Times, with its rowdy appeal to Irish-American and German-American sympathies, by no means gave the full measure of their ingenuity. The Pope has been repeatedly pressed into Mr. Hearst’s service; one of their favorite “campaign documents” is a portrait of His Holiness inscribed with a message of thanks and a pontifical blessing to Mr. Hearst for the “relief” he sent after the eruption of Vesuvius. The Jews on the East Side are taught to look upon Mr. Hearst as the foremost American champion of their Russian co-religionists.

The many services Mr. Hearst has rendered to the community, the many more he claims to have rendered, are made the themes of daily panegyrics. For each class and for each nationality a special ground of appeal is prepared. The allegations regarding Mr. Hearst’s life before his marriage are answered by flooding the constituencies with portraits of his wife and son, and by making Bishop Potter, who performed the marriage ceremony, appear in the light of a witness to his character. The Trade Union vote is angled for by the conclusive argument that Mr. Hearst pays more than Trade Union wages. For the farmers there is a separate journal, in which Mr. Hearst chiefly figures as the sympathetic owner of a million acres. Business, politics, philanthropy, domesticity, an infinity of brass bands, fireworks, processions, and all the other aids to reflection with which Americans conduct their political campaigns, the Brisbane editorials, and Mr. Ihmsen‘s genius for the tactics which his countrymen glorify under the name of politics, are all enrolled in the Hearst movement.

But there is more in it than pantomime and pandemonium. What gives Mr. Hearst his ultimate power is that he has used the resources of an unlimited publicity to make himself and his propaganda the rallying point for disaffection and unrest. His journals make it their consistent policy to preach discontent, to side always with “the people,” and to take the part of Labor against Capital. They used to set no bounds to the violence of their attack. Mr. McKinley and Mr. Hanna were assailed and caricatured with an unbridled vehemence and maliciousness that provoked a fierce, though only a brief, reaction after the President’s assassination. Mr. Hearst bowed to the storm, covered the stricken President with sanctimonious eulogies, and did not until the day after the funeral attempt to defend himself. "The sum of the Journal‘s offences," it was then announced, “is that it has fought for the people, and against class privilege, and class pride and class greed and class heartlessness with more and varied weapons, with more force and talent and enthusiasm, than any other newspaper in the country.”

That was and is a perfectly true statement. The Hearst newspapers, though they have moderated their methods, have not changed their policy; and it is a policy which finds an immense justification in the conditions of American life and politics. No one can visit the United States these days without becoming conscious of a pervasive social unrest. The people are beginning to think. They have turned away, as Mr. H. G. Wells rightly discerned, “from all the heady self-satisfaction of the nineteenth century." and have commenced “a process of heart-searching quite unparalleled in history." They are questioning themselves and their future and their institutions with an open-mindedness that a decade ago would have seemed well-nigh treasonable. They are beginning to wonder whether the great experiment is after all so great as it once appeared; or, rather, they are beginning to see that it is an experiment merely. Familiar ideals, established political and social systems, are being brought as never before to the touchstone of fact.

The inadequacies of an eighteenth-century Constitution in the face of twentieth-century problems are daily impressing themselves for the national comprehension. Economic and industrial developments, it is felt, have taken on an intricacy and a varied sweep that are slowly bringing the Constitution to a confusion of helplessness. More and more, people are asking themselves whether the United States can any longer be called a democracy. More and more, people are coming to see that under the forms of popular self-government, political equality has become the sport of "bosses" and economic equality the jest of a voracious plutocracy. The Courts to an alarming degree are losing the confidence of the masses; the Senate has already lost it. The old parties, the old catchwords are ceasing to attract. The people perceive their emptiness and are palpably tiring of them. Republicans and Democrats, with their obsolete mummeries, will soon mean less than nothing to a nation that is girding itself to wrest its liberties from the grip of organized wealth.

A wave of social protest is sweeping across the country, over all sections, and with an utter heedlessness of the traditional party divisions. Federated Labor, fired by the example of England, is abandoning its timid non-partisanship and preparing to plunge into politics as a class with distinct interests of its own to serve. In city, State, and nation there is now but one issue - the struggle between equality and privilege. Great masses of Americans are growing up with an angry feeling that they have been cheated out of their inheritance. They see, or think they see, that the millionaire and the boss rule and own America; that together they control all the functions of government; that the Courts and the ballot-box are merely instruments of their power and the Constitution a handmaid to their iniquities; that all legislation is conceived in their interests, drafted and voted by their henchmen; and that, as a consequence, where there is one law for the protection of human life there are a thousand for the protection of property. This may be a mere nightmare vision of America, but it is one that hundreds of thousands believe in as a waking reality.

Against such conditions Hearstism is the loudest and the most popular protest. With more point and passion than any other leader, Mr. Hearst has attacked the industrialization of American politics, has insisted that the political masters of the country are its captains of industry. He has proclaimed with strident iteration that the money power is in effect a conspiracy against the commonweal, and the disclosures of the past few years in the management or the insurance companies, the railways, the Chicago canning factories, the New York traction companies, and in the banking corporations, have abundantly justified him. He has incessantly shrieked that “the people" were being robbed by their rulers, and he is now proved right. Employing all the resources of a vicious journalism to quicken the American proletariat into an uprising against the forces of bossism and capital, he has made himself believed in as the forerunner of the new American revolution.

It is not only a political party, but a social class that he seeks to found, to rouse to consciousness and to lead. From the sinister alliance of debased politics with industrial monopoly he points to what not only he but many millions of Americans believe to be the only road of escape - the public ownership of public utilities. When he declares that “the great problem of the hour is to do away with corporation control of the Government," and when he declares that control to rest “mainly upon our system of partisan politics directed by Boss rule and subject to Trust ownership,” there may be many Americans who will dispute Mr. Hearst’s fitness to apply the remedy, but there are few with sufficient hardihood to deny the accuracy of his diagnosis. He profits enormously by the ferocious hostility of the corporations that have debauched American politics, nor is it only the poor and the ignorant who subscribe to his programme.

I was surprised, when in America last year, to find how many of the younger men he had won over to his side - men who were not at all inclined to sympathize with “yellow” journalism, but who were sick of the old parties, repelled by the universality of graft, and who, while deploring Mr. Hearst’s methods, saw in his programme, and in his alone, a chance of real political regeneration. The main plank in that programme is, as I have said, the public ownership of public utilities; but it contains other measures, such as ballot reform, direct nominations, and the election of United States Senators by the people instead or by the State legislatures. that also commend themselves to a great body of sensible and non-partisan opinion.

Mr. Hearst’s political career has been sensational even for a land where politics are always turning somersaults. One cannot begin to appraise it aright until one grasps the fact that for a large section of the masses he symbolizes not only a detestation of the plutocracy, but also that weariness with the regular parties which is one of the most baffling phenomena in American politics. That Republicans and Democrats are slowly transforming themselves in policy and spirit, though not in name, into Conservatives and Radicals seems to me indisputable. Mr. Hearst is a Radical, and it is to all Radicals, whether they call themselves Democrats or Republicans, that he makes his appeal. By affiliation a Democrat, it is on the Democratic Party that he will first of all seek to impose himself and his programme; but the ultimate aim of his somewhat bewildering tactics, if I understand them aright, is to gather round him in every State in the Union such a body of followers as will enable him to hold the balance of power.

In the Presidential Election of 1904 be secured over two hundred delegates at the National Democratic Convention. In 1905 he ran for the Mayoralty of New York on an independent ticket, and fought Tammany to a standstill. In 1906 he was in alliance with Tammany, and accepted by the Democrats of New York State as their official candidate for the Governorship. In 1907 he cut loose from his allies of the previous year, and “fused” with the Republicans, who twelve months before had smothered him with abuse. In 1908 he will probably appear before the National Democratic Convention with a sufficient number of delegates to influence and perhaps control the party nominations for the Presidency. That this “in and out form” puts Mr. Hearst in a very dubious light and heavily discounts his sincerity is, of course, self evident; but it is at the same time a remarkable testimony to the reality of his power that he should have succccded in forcing himself upon both parties in turn.

His political methods, like his journalistic, are wholly brazen, but they seem to be effective, and the prophets who were declaring three weeks ago that Mr. Hearst was finally done for little know their man or the game he is playing. Mr. Hearst, in my opinion, will continue to be an incalculable and profoundly disturbing influence in American politics; and it is not yet certain that he may not some day be the supreme influence. No force that can be brought against him appears capable of doing more than defeat him; it cannot crush and annihilate him. Even his unsavory tactics and the manifold contradictions of his position do not alienate his following. Despite the fact that he is the professed foe of corporations, his own organization, the Independence League, is a corporation not merely in name but in law. It is registered like any other stock company, and it can take no action whatever without the consent of a board of directors who, of course, are Mr. Hearst‘s personal satellites.

Anomalies such as these make people question Hearst’s honesty. The truth is, I believe, that having had a certain creed expounded in his name every morning and evening in the year for the past eleven years, and perceiving that this creed contains a degree of truth and falls in with his personal ambitions, Mr. Hearst has come to believe in it, and to take it seriously, but not by any means fanatically. Beyond that I should not care to venture any opinion as to the depths of Mr. Hearst’s political convictions. He impressed me when I came across him as a man very difficult to know. That he is as different as possible from his papers goes without saying; nobody could he like them and be a human being.

They are blatant, and he in dress, appearance, and manner is impeccably quiet, measured, and decorous. He struck me as a man of power and a man of sense, with a certain dry wit about him and a pleasantly detached and impersonal way of speaking. He stands six feet two in height, is broad-shouldered, deep of chest, huge-fisted, deliberate, but assured in all his movements. But for an excess of paleness and smoothness in his skin one might take him for an athlete. He does not look his forty-four years. The face has indubitable strength. The long and powerful jaw and the lines round his firmly clenched mouth tell of a capacity for long concentration, and the eyes, large, steady, and luminously blue, emphasize by their directness the effect of resolution.

In more ways than his quiet voice and unhurried, considering air, Mr. Hearst is somewhat of a surprise. He neither smokes nor drinks; he never speculates; he sold the racehorses he inherited from his father, and is never seen on a race track; yachting, dancing, cards, the Newport life, have not the smallest attraction for him; for a multi-milllonaire he has scarcely any friends among the rich, and to “Society” he is wholly indifferent; he lives in an unpretentious house in an unfashionable quarter, and outside his family, his politics, and his papers, appears to have no interests whatever. To guage his future is impossible. To watch it will be at least an experience in a novel and somewhat sinister form of political burlesque.

Sydney Brooks.