Entry in progress—B.P.
William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951)
Frederic Remington (1861-1909)
Wikiquote: Yellow journalism
Pulitzer and Hearst are often adduced as the cause of the United States’ entry into the Spanish-American War due to sensationalist stories or exaggerations of the terrible conditions in Cuba. However, the vast majority of Americans did not live in New York City, and the decision-makers who did live there probably relied more on staid newspapers like the Times, The Sun, or the Post. The most famous example of a claim is the apocryphal story that artist Frederic Remington telegrammed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba and “There will be no war.” Hearst responded “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Historians now believe that no such telegrams ever were sent.
On the Great Highway:
The Wanderings and Adventures of a Special Correspondent
By James Creelman
Boston, MA: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company
Some time before the destruction of the battleship Maine in the harbor of Havana, the New York Journal sent Frederic Remington, the distinguished artist, to Cuba. He was instructed to remain there until the war began; for “yellow journalism” was alert and had an eye for the future.
Presently Mr. Remington sent this telegram from Havana:—
“W. R. HEARST, New York Journal, N.Y.:
“Everything is quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. I wish to return.
This was the reply:—
“Please remain. You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.
“W. R. HEARST.”
The proprietor of the Journal was as good as his word, and to-day the gilded arms of Spain, torn from in front of the palace in Santiago de Cuba, hang in his office in Printing House Square,a limp of melted silver, taken from the smoking deck of the shattered Spanish flagship, serves as his paper weight, and the bullet-pierced headquarters flag of the Eastern army of Cuba—gratefully presented to him in the field by General Garcia—adorns his wall.
February 1903, The Atlantic Monthly, “Sensational Journalism and the Law” by George William Alger, pg. 147:
The reply he received was characteristic of the journalism he represented: “You furnish the pictures, we will furnish the war.” It is characteristic because the new journalism aims to direct rather than to influence, and seeks, to an extent never attempted or conceived by the journalism it endeavors so strenuously to supplant, to create public sentiment rather to mould it, make measures and find men.
American Journalism Review
You Furnish the Legend, I’ll Furnish the Quote
Hearst’s famous war quote most likely never happened.
By W. Joseph Campbell
Reasons for doubting Creelman’s anecdote are many. They go beyond Hearst’s denial, made in 1907 and repeated in the autobiography of one of his sons. They go beyond the fact that the telegrams Creelman described have never surfaced.
Notably: • Creelman wasn’t in Cuba at the time of the purported exchange; he was in Europe, reporting for the Journal. He could only have received the information secondhand. • The contents of the purported telegrams are contradicted by the islandwide rebellion in Cuba in 1897. The Cuban insurrection, begun in 1895, had forced Spain to send 200,000 soldiers to the island. • Hearst’s supposed pledge to “furnish the war” is at odds with his newspaper’s editorial stance in January 1897, which anticipated the imminent collapse of the Spanish war effort. Spain, the Journal said, “has practically already lost her magnificent colony.” The Journal was not urging U.S. military intervention in Cuba. • It is improbable that the telegraphic exchange Creelman described would have cleared the strict Spanish censors in Havana. • Despite Hearst’s purported instruction to remain, Remington left Havana in mid-January 1897. Upon his return, the Journal prominently displayed Remington’s Cuban sketches across its pages--not the kind of treatment that Hearst likely would have shown a disobedient correspondent.
New York City • Media/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Saturday, December 22, 2012 • Permalink