Publication information
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Source: Greenville Times
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “‘Yellow’ Journalism”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Greenville, Mississippi
Date of publication: 5 October 1901
Volume number: 34
Issue number: 9
Pagination: [4]

“‘Yellow’ Journalism.” Greenville Times 5 Oct. 1901 v34n9: p. [4].
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response); yellow journalism; yellow journalism (impact on Czolgosz); the press (freedom of); society (criticism); the press (criticism).
Named persons
Napoléon Bonaparte; Leon Czolgosz; Emma Goldman; William Randolph Hearst; Rudyard Kipling; Jean-Paul Marat; J. Pierpont Morgan; Nero; Lucy E. Parsons; Joseph Pulitzer.


“Yellow” Journalism

     If so lamentable an occurrence as the death of the late president can be productive of a good result, it may justly be claimed, should the present wave of popular indignation and disgust have the effect of curbing the licenae [sic] of certain newspapers, and teaching moderation and decency to those whose idea of journalism is that it is a legitimate vehicle for sensational lying, vulgar abuse and ridicule of those in authority. The birth and growth of the sentiment against yellow journalism is said to owe its origin to the fact that the wretched assassin, Czolgosz, and his associates were inspired and encouraged to their work by the caricatures and utterances of newspapers too well known to be named, and whose Sunday editions, bulky with emptiness, or worse than vacuous, and flaming with ghastly travesties of humourous illustration, are a weekly affront to intelligence and good taste.
     It is to the flaunting indecency of these papers that the anarchists owe their inspiration—not to the hysterical screams of Emma Goldman or Lucy Parsons, or the ravings of nihilist sheets printed surreptitiously in saloon garrets and circulated from hand to hand. Free speech and a free press are fundamental principles of a government like ours; but freedom may easily degenerate into license. A libertinism which permits a paper, with no object except to make it sell, to publish day after day, vile and humiliating insults to the head of the nation until he comes to be regarded, by a creature like Czolgosz, as a noxious beast to be destroyed like a wolf or tiger—such a libertinism has ceased to be freedom. A writer who would boldly show up a Marat, a Bonaparte, a Nero, for what he is, is performing a service to his fellowmen, and is worthy of honor. One who would wilfully [sic] asperse with lies the character of a good and conscientious ruler for the sole purpose of lining his own pockets is no better than the anarchist whose half-crazy brain is fired by his mendacity.
     Kipling prays for mercy on a nation which, drunk with power, has loosed wild tongues which hold not God in awe. Our nation is drunk with power, wealth, prosperity, irreverence, license. We hold nothing in awe. The press of America is in the front rank of a headlong race growing daily madder and more reckless in its rush to some unnamable but inevitable catastrophe. It is time for us to halt, to reorganize our vast political body on some plan in accordance with its growth. Czolgosz is a law unto himself. Editor Hearst and Editor Pulitzer are laws unto themselves. J. P! Morgan [sic], the strikers of the North and East, the lynching mobs of the South and West, are all laws unto themselves. Every citizen of the United States is practically a law unto himself; and whether his government is good or evil depends on his own individuality. Reverence for constituted authority is the life of a society or a nation. This the American people seem to be forgetting. The press is the standard bearer in our tumultuous onrushing civilization; and it must be taught to point the way to the heights of safety [i]nstead of leading to the abyss of chaos.



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