Skip to comments.Hearst had "determination to supersede the journalism that chronicles"
Posted on 07/05/2014 7:49:11 AM PDT by ProgressingAmerica
What is visible to all men is that a young man of enormous energy and great journalistic instinct has dedicated a fortune as great as that of Monte Christo to the creation of a newspaper which, instead of confining itself to the function of chronicling other mens deeds, boldly asserts its determination to supersede the journalism that chronicles by the journalism that acts. Other newspapers may write about things. The Journal is determined to do them.
William Thomas Stead from "A Romance of the Pearl of the Antilles"
Stead wrote this in reference to William Randolph Hearst's and Karl Decker's "daring" and successful jailbreak of a Cuban captive - Evangelina Cisneros.
The importance of this story is properly put into context by none other than Stead himself:
Stanleys commission after all was one of exploration, and came easily within what had always been regarded as a legitimate field of journalistic enterprise; but a commission to break into a gaol, and carry off a captive who was under arrest by the orders of the Government of a city with which the Americans were at peace, marks a development fraught with many possibilities, some of which are by no means calculated to minister to the repose of nations.
What is interesting is that Stead does not characterize the breaking from jail of Cisneros as an illegitimate field of journalistic enterprise. He praises it up and down. Its daring, its spectacular, its brilliant! All of these key words are used in the first few paragraphs, along with a few others.
There is also an ambiguity to the article: Did Decker rescue Cisneros? Or is Hearst her true rescuer? Sure, Decker was the guy on the ground. But Hearst financed it. Hearst told him to go. Look at the first page of the article:
"A CUBAN HEROINE AND HER RESCUER" shouts the headline, and the first picture you see is of William Randolph Hearst. Seems logical then that Stead is characterizing Hearst as the rescuer.
Everything has a turning point. In the annals of activist journalism, Hearst's/Decker's rescue of Evangelina Cisneros is a very important turning point.
This is where the journalism that chronicles was superseded by the journalism that acts.
Furthermore, this highlights a great misnomer about so called Yellow Journalism. We have been told for far too long that the yellows simply made sensationalized headlines to sell more papers and increase their profits. That's certainly partially true - its not untrue. But it's not "the rest of the story".
Plenty of agenda goes into politically-based news reporting, but keep this in mind: This story of Evangelina Cisneros is a human interest story. Yet the intent and agenda runs deep. So next time you see a so called "human interest story", ask yourself this:
"What is the writer's agenda behind this story?"
Scandals, Criminal News, Hypocrisy, and others. In short, a large portion of yellow journalism is human interest stories. Yes, "is". Not was. Yellow journalism is still with us.
Yes, Yellow Journalism is still with us. Every time you read a sob story about some left-wing-favored group, you're reading Yellow Journalism. It's not intended to inform you, it's intended to use your emotions to warp your judgment.
next time you see a so called "human interest story", ask yourself this:Dont trouble to wait to identify a story as a human interest story before asking that question. All stories are suspect:
"What is the writer's agenda behind this story?The natural disposition is always to believe. It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity, and they very seldom teach it enough.
The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing. - Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments
As to believing journalists in particular, all journalists either are members of the AP, or want to be. And the Associated Press is just what its name implies: all members of the AP are in cahoots. They are associated, and Adam Smith accurately predicts the result of that association:People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public - Adam Smith, Wealth of NationsAgain,The man whom we believe is necessarily, in the things concerning which we believe him, our leader and director, and we look up to him with a certain degree of esteem and respect. But as from admiring other people we come to wish to be admired ourselves; so from being led and directed by other people we learn to wish to become ourselves leaders and directors. And as we cannot always be satisfied merely with being admired, unless we can at the same time persuade ourselves that we are in some degree really worthy of admiration; so we cannot always be satisfied merely with being believed, unless we are at the same time conscious that we are really worthy of belief. As the desire of praise and that of praise-worthiness, though very much a-kin, are yet distinct and separate desires; so the desire of being believed and that of being worthy of belief, though very much a-kin too, are equally distinct and separate desires.Journalists are in league, and their desire is not to inform, but to lead. And they do. They lead America by what they report, and by what they do not report.
The desire of being believed, the desire of persuading, of leading and directing other people, seems to be one of the strongest of all our natural desires. - Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments
Journalists also try to lead by reporting stories they are forced to cover in a way that is confusing or boring. Bengahzi comes to mind.
But sometimes they just outright lie.
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