Publication information
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Source: Evening Standard
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Yellow Journalism”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Leavenworth, Kansas
Date of publication: 25 September 1901
Volume number: 31
Issue number: none
Pagination: 2

“Yellow Journalism.” Evening Standard 25 Sept. 1901 v31: p. 2.
full text
yellow journalism; William Randolph Hearst; Hearst newspapers; New York Journal; McKinley assassination (public response); McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); Hearst newspapers (role in the assassination); presidential assassinations (comparison); freedom of speech; George F. Hoar; McKinley presidency (criticism).
Named persons
James G. Blaine; Leon Czolgosz; James A. Garfield; Charles J. Guiteau; William Randolph Hearst; George F. Hoar; Joseph Keppler; William McKinley; Thomas Nast; William M. Tweed.


Yellow Journalism

     Yellow journalism has seen its day. The public was pretty tired of it before, but since the assassination of President McKinley the public has resolved to have no more of it. The rampant, saffron hued, multicolor bedaubed sheets are doomed, and the country will be better off when they are gone. There is no call for yellow journalism; the nation can run its own affairs, and people can manage their domestic affairs without the advice of the yellows; and as for their so called enterprise, it has resulted in more harm than good.
     The high priest of yellow journalism is William R. Hearst, owner of the New York Journal, Chicago American and San Francisco Examiner. These three papers are held up as the yellowest of the yellow. They are charged with many things, the latest that an editorial in the New York Journal was the direct inspiration for the assassination of President McKinley. Of course this is a hard matter to prove, but, nevertheless, the tone of the editorial is such that it has led many people to believe the charge.
     Sentiment in the east is very strong against the Juornal [sic], and, of course, the Journal’s rivals are helping make it stronger every day. It is the same in Chicago and the same in San Francisco. Hearst will have to change the method of conducting his papes [sic], or quit business, for if he continus [sic] in his present course, people will not take the papers. Several clubs in New York have excluded the paper, some towns will not allow it to be sold on the streets, and, if the Journal’s rivals are to be believed, many advertisers have refused to use the Journal.
     In view of the fight being made on the yellow journals, and the extreme radicalism of some of its opponents, the following editorial from the New York Evening Post is very sensible. The Post says:
     “Ever since President McKinley was shot, a fortnight ago, there has been a tremendous manifestation of popular indignation against yellow journalism, and particularly against its worst exemplar in New York city [sic]. Like all sudden outbursts of rage, this has been largelyy indiscriminating [sic], and much of it has been quite beside the mark.
     [“]The theory which has been seriously advanced, that Czolgosz was led to assassinate President McKinley by reading a certain daily newspaper, is without a particle of evidence, and is an affront to common sense. One might with as much reason have argued that Guiteau was impelled to kill President Garfield in 1881 by reading the bitter diatribes in republican newspapers during that period of heated factional controversy in the republican party which preceded the assassination. Hardly less justifiable have been the more extreme complaints regarding the treatment of the late president by yellow journals, going as they often have virtually to the length of declaring that public men must be relieved from criticism by the writer or the cartoonist.
     [“]Freedom of legitimate discussion must be maintained. If any editor or any public man feels persuaded that a president is working harm to the republic, he must have the right to say so plainly and emphatically. A year and a half ago, George F. Hoar, the veteran republican senator from Massachusetts, was profoundly convinced that the policy pursued by the administration was one so utterly bad that “perseverance in it will be the abandonment of the principles upon which our government is founded, that it will change our republic into an empire;” and he so declared, in the most impressive manner, in a speech delivered before the senate on the 17th day of April, 1900. The right of any public man—and of any newspaper editor—to say such severe things as this about any president must be preserved, and it will be a sad day for the republic when there are not George F. Hoars ready to speak the truth as they see it. So, too, we must render it possible always for a Nast to expose a Tweed, or a Keppler a Blaine, in a cartoon which puts a whole argument in a single picture.
     [“]The real offence of yellow journalism is not so much that it holds a public man up to undeserved ridicule, or visits upon him censure which he does not deserve, as that its pervading spirit is one of vulgarity, indecency, and reckless sensationalism; that it steadily violates the canons alike of good taste and sound morals; that it cultivates false standards of life, and demoralizes it [sic] readers; that it recklessly uses language which may incite the crack-brained to lawlessness; that its net influence makes the world worse. A force of working to such ends surely ought to be restrained, and public opinion ought to be brought to bear against it in the most effective possible ways.”



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