The Real Mr. Hearst [excerpt]
HE had a terrible awakening in 1891 [sic] when President McKinley
was assassinated. His newspaper rivals recalled the fact that the
Evening Journal had once printed an editorial saying that
assassination was sometimes a good thing, and that the Morning
Journal had published this quatrain:
The bullet that pierced Goebel’s breast
Cannot be found in all the West.
Good reason—it is speeding here
To stretch McKinley on his bier.
It did not matter that these and
other things had been printed without Mr. Hearst’s knowledge and
against his wish. It made no difference that he had stopped the
presses when he read the assassination editorial. A cry of rage
sounded across the continent and Mr. Hearst was burned and hung
in effigy, while bonfires fed by his newspapers were lighted north,
south, east and west. It is doubtful whether any American has ever
faced such a wild storm of passion as that which burst over the
head of the hapless young editor. He was everywhere denounced as
a murderer, anarchist and scoundrel.
It would be unfair to refer to this
terrible incident without also recording the fact that, months before
the President was slain, Mr. Hearst sent a representative to Mr.
McKinley to express his regret that his newspapers, in the heat
of active political warfare, had been led into excesses of personal
attack, and offering to exclude from its pages anything that the
President might find personally offensive, but also pledging him
hearty support in all things as to which Mr. Hearst did not differ
with him politically.
The President seemed deeply touched
by this wholly voluntary offer and sent a message of sincere thanks.
The writer of this article was the bearer of the President’s message.
These facts are given as an explanation of the actual terms upon
which Mr. Hearst and Mr. McKinley were living when Czolgoz fired
the fatal shot.