Source: Coast Mail
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Yellow Journalism Not Responsible”
City of publication: Marshfield, Oregon
Date of publication: 5 October 1901
Volume number: 23
Issue number: 40
|“Yellow Journalism Not Responsible.” Coast Mail 5 Oct. 1901 v23n40: p. .|
|yellow journalism (impact on Czolgosz); the press (criticism); Hearst newspapers.|
|Emma Goldman; William Randolph Hearst [misspelled once below]; William McKinley.|
Yellow Journalism Not Responsible
The newspapers that are trying with
such untempered zeal to lay the assassination of President McKinley at the door
of “yellow journalism” are making qualified fools of themselves. There is not
the slightest evidence that the assassin ever read the yellow journals or that
he drew his inspiration from them in the smallest degree. On the contrary, it
is known that he was “set on fire” by the teachings of Emma Goldman; that he
was an anarchist; and that he committed his crime, not as an American citizen
who had been led to believe that the murder of McKinley would bring a needed
reform in the government, but as an anarchist who believed in no government,
and a part of whose creed was the murder of all rulers, good or bad.
The coarse and vituperative attacks on the president had no influence on this moral pervert. Had the entire press of the country been vying with each other in eulogy of President McKinley it would have had no influence as a protection against the criminal creed of the anarchists. In fact, it would have served to brighten the mark for their bullets. Excitement, horror, strong feeling and strong language is to be expected at this time, but there is no reason why we should all take leave of common sense. As a matter of fact, the motives of the howlers is in some instances so plainly to be seen that their rantings arouse a strong feeling of disgust.
Take the San Francisco papers, for instance. The Bulletin, Chronicle and Call are jumping on the Examiner with all the foul language and intemperate abuse of which their editorial writers are capable. They are printing columns of the most vindictive and scurrulous [sic] attacks upon W. R. Hearst. Not content with the most vindicative [sic] criticism of his newspapers they are tearing his private character to shreds, or trying to. He is accused of nearly every crime in the calander [sic], and nothing is too coarsely abusive to be said of him. With all this the glaring fact appears, that Hirst, with his Examiner, is a business rival, and the Chronicle, Bulletin and Call are combined in an attempt to wreck his business for their own pecuniary advantage. The Examiner is not a model newspaper. It is a yellow journal, with all that that implies. At the same time, it is morally on fully as high a plane as either of the others, and it is enterprising enough to beat them as a news gatherer. San Francisco is peculiarly unfortunate in its daily newspapers. There is not one in the lot with any claim to respect. Their readers know it, but can’t help themselves, and the attempt of the three to seize upon the assassination of President McKinley and use it to make business capital against a rival will only earn them a deeper measure of contempt from honest and thinking people.
What is true in San Francisco is true elsewhere, and the most of this din about yellow journalism is kept up by so-called newspapers that hope to reap a business advantage by turning the people against their more enterprising yellow rivals.
Moreover, the very newspapers and public men who are now falling over each other to put themselves on record as favoring restrictions on criticism of public officials would be the first to set up a howl about freedom of speech and of the press, should the law restrict them in their criticism of political opponents. We may have a Democratic or Socialistic president some day, and then we will want the privilege of abusing him and caricaturing him with all the ability in that direction that we may possess. We want no “lese majesty” business in this country.