Yellow journalism and the yellow press are American terms for journalism and associated newspapers that present little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism. By extension, the term yellow journalism is used today as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion.
In English, the term is chiefly used in the US. In the UK, a roughly equivalent term is tabloid journalism, meaning journalism characteristic of tabloid newspapers, even if found elsewhere. Other languages, e.g. Russian (Жёлтая пресса), sometimes have terms derived from the American term. A common source of such writing is called checkbook journalism, which is the controversial practice of news reporters paying sources for their information without verifying its truth or accuracy. In the U.S. it is generally considered unethical, with most mainstream newspapers and news shows having a policy forbidding it. In contrast, tabloid newspapers and tabloid television shows, which rely more on sensationalism, regularly engage in the practice.
Joseph Campbell describes yellow press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion. The term was extensively used to describe certain major New York City newspapers around 1900 as they battled for circulation.
The term was coined in the mid-1890s to characterize the sensational journalism in the circulation war between Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. The battle peaked from 1895 to about 1898, and historical usage often refers specifically to this period. Both papers were accused by critics of sensationalizing the news in order to drive up circulation, although the newspapers did serious reporting as well. An English magazine in 1898 noted, "All American journalism is not 'yellow', though all strictly 'up-to-date' yellow journalism is American!"
The term was coined by Erwin Wardman, the editor of the New York Press. Wardman was the first to publish the term but there is evidence that expressions such as "yellow journalism" and "school of yellow kid journalism" were already used by newsmen of that time. Wardman never defined the term exactly. Possibly it was a mutation from earlier slander where Wardman twisted "new journalism" into "nude journalism". Wardman had also used the expression "yellow kid journalism" referring to the then-popular comic strip which was published by both Pulitzer and Hearst during a circulation war. In 1898 the paper simply elaborated: "We called them Yellow because they are Yellow."
Joseph Pulitzer purchased the New York World in 1883 after making the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the dominant daily in that city. Pulitzer strove to make the New York World an entertaining read, and filled his paper with pictures, games and contests that drew in new readers. Crime stories filled many of the pages, with headlines like "Was He a Suicide?" and "Screaming for Mercy." In addition, Pulitzer only charged readers two cents per issue but gave readers eight and sometimes 12 pages of information (the only other two cent paper in the city never exceeded four pages).
While there were many sensational stories in the New York World, they were by no means the only pieces, or even the dominant ones. Pulitzer believed that newspapers were public institutions with a duty to improve society, and he put the World in the service of social reform.
Just two years after Pulitzer took it over, the World became the highest circulation newspaper in New York, aided in part by its strong ties to the Democratic Party. Older publishers, envious of Pulitzer's success, began criticizing the World, harping on its crime stories and stunts while ignoring its more serious reporting — trends which influenced the popular perception of yellow journalism. Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, attacked The World and said Pulitzer was "deficient in judgment and in staying power."
Pulitzer's approach made an impression on William Randolph Hearst, a mining heir who acquired the San Francisco Examiner from his father in 1887. Hearst read the World while studying at Harvard University and resolved to make the Examiner as bright as Pulitzer's paper.
Under his leadership, the Examiner devoted 24 percent of its space to crime, presenting the stories as morality plays, and sprinkled adultery and "nudity" (by 19th century standards) on the front page. A month after Hearst took over the paper, the Examiner ran this headline about a hotel fire: HUNGRY, FRANTIC FLAMES. They Leap Madly Upon the Splendid Pleasure Palace by the Bay of Monterey, Encircling Del Monte in Their Ravenous Embrace From Pinnacle to Foundation. Leaping Higher, Higher, Higher, With Desperate Desire. Running Madly Riotous Through Cornice, Archway and Facade. Rushing in Upon the Trembling Guests with Savage Fury. Appalled and Panic-Stricken the Breathless Fugitives Gaze Upon the Scene of Terror. The Magnificent Hotel and Its Rich Adornments Now a Smoldering heap of Ashes. The Examiner Sends a Special Train to Monterey to Gather Full Details of the Terrible Disaster. Arrival of the Unfortunate Victims on the Morning's Train — A History of Hotel del Monte — The Plans for Rebuilding the Celebrated Hostelry — Particulars and Supposed Origin of the Fire.
Hearst could be hyperbolic in his crime coverage; one of his early pieces, regarding a "band of murderers," attacked the police for forcing Examiner reporters to do their work for them. But while indulging in these stunts, the Examiner also increased its space for international news, and sent reporters out to uncover municipal corruption and inefficiency.
In one well remembered story, Examiner reporter Winifred Black was admitted into a San Francisco hospital and discovered that indigent women were treated with "gross cruelty." The entire hospital staff was fired the morning the piece appeared.
With the success of the Examiner established by the early 1890s, Hearst began looking for a New York newspaper to purchase, and acquired the New York Journal in 1895, a penny paper which Pulitzer's brother Albert had sold to a Cincinnati publisher the year before.
Metropolitan newspapers started going after department store advertising in the 1890s, and discovered the larger the circulation base, the better. This drove Hearst; following Pulitzer's earlier strategy, he kept the Journal's price at one cent (compared to The World's two cent price) while providing as much information as rival newspapers. The approach worked, and as the Journal's circulation jumped to 150,000, Pulitzer cut his price to a penny, hoping to drive his young competitor (who was subsidized by his family's fortune) into bankruptcy.
In a counterattack, Hearst raided the staff of the World in 1896. While most sources say that Hearst simply offered more money, Pulitzer — who had grown increasingly abusive to his employees — had become an extremely difficult man to work for, and many World employees were willing to jump for the sake of getting away from him.
Although the competition between the World and the Journal was fierce, the papers were temperamentally alike. Both were Democratic, both were sympathetic to labor and immigrants (a sharp contrast to publishers like the New York Tribune's Whitelaw Reid, who blamed their poverty on moral defects), and both invested enormous resources in their Sunday publications, which functioned like weekly magazines, going beyond the normal scope of daily journalism.
Their Sunday entertainment features included the first color comic strip pages, and some theorize that the term yellow journalism originated there, while as noted above, the New York Press left the term it invented undefined. Hogan's Alley, a comic strip revolving around a bald child in a yellow nightshirt (nicknamed The Yellow Kid), became exceptionally popular when cartoonist Richard F. Outcault began drawing it in the World in early 1896. When Hearst predictably hired Outcault away, Pulitzer asked artist George Luks to continue the strip with his characters, giving the city two Yellow Kids. The use of "yellow journalism" as a synonym for over-the-top sensationalism in the U.S. apparently started with more serious newspapers commenting on the excesses of "the Yellow Kid papers."
In 1890, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis published "The Right to Privacy", considered the most influential of all law review articles, as a critical response to sensational forms of journalism, which they saw as an unprecedented threat to individual privacy. The article is widely considered to have led to the recognition of new common law privacy rights of action.
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. James Creelman wrote an anecdote in his memoir that artist Frederic Remington telegrammed Hearst to tell him all was quiet in Cuba and "There will be no war." Creelman claimed Hearst responded "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." Hearst denied the veracity of the story, and no one has found any evidence of the telegrams existing. Historian Emily Erickson states:
Serious historians have dismissed the telegram story as unlikely. ... The hubris contained in this supposed telegram, however, does reflect the spirit of unabashed self-promotion that was a hallmark of the yellow press and of Hearst in particular.
Hearst became a war hawk after a rebellion broke out in Cuba in 1895. Stories of Cuban virtue and Spanish brutality soon dominated his front page. While the accounts were of dubious accuracy, the newspaper readers of the 19th century did not expect, or necessarily want, his stories to be pure nonfiction. Historian Michael Robertson has said that "Newspaper reporters and readers of the 1890s were much less concerned with distinguishing among fact-based reporting, opinion and literature."
Pulitzer, though lacking Hearst's resources, kept the story on his front page. The yellow press covered the revolution extensively and often inaccurately, but conditions on Cuba were horrific enough. The island was in a terrible economic depression, and Spanish general Valeriano Weyler, sent to crush the rebellion, herded Cuban peasants into concentration camps, leading hundreds of Cubans to their deaths. Having clamored for a fight for two years, Hearst took credit for the conflict when it came: A week after the United States declared war on Spain, he ran "How do you like the Journal's war?" on his front page. In fact, President William McKinley never read the Journal, nor newspapers like the Tribune and the New York Evening Post. Moreover, journalism historians have noted that yellow journalism was largely confined to New York City, and that newspapers in the rest of the country did not follow their lead. The Journal and the World were not among the top ten sources of news in regional papers, and the stories simply did not make a splash outside New York City. Rather, war came because public opinion was sickened by the bloodshed, and because leaders like McKinley realized that Spain had lost control of Cuba. These factors weighed more on the president's mind than the melodramas in the New York Journal.
When the invasion began, Hearst sailed directly to Cuba as a war correspondent, providing sober and accurate accounts of the fighting. Creelman later praised the work of the reporters for exposing the horrors of Spanish misrule, arguing, "no true history of the war ... can be written without an acknowledgment that whatever of justice and freedom and progress was accomplished by the Spanish–American War was due to the enterprise and tenacity of yellow journalists, many of whom lie in unremembered graves."
Hearst was a leading Democrat who promoted William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896 and 1900. He later ran for mayor and governor and even sought the presidential nomination, but lost much of his personal prestige when outrage exploded in 1901 after columnist Ambrose Bierce and editor Arthur Brisbane published separate columns months apart that suggested the assassination of William McKinley. When McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, critics accused Hearst's Yellow Journalism of driving Leon Czolgosz to the deed. Hearst did not know of Bierce's column, and claimed to have pulled Brisbane's after it ran in a first edition, but the incident would haunt him for the rest of his life, and all but destroyed his presidential ambitions.
Pulitzer, haunted by his "yellow sins," returned the World to its crusading roots as the new century dawned. By the time of his death in 1911, the World was a widely respected publication, and would remain a leading progressive paper until its demise in 1931. Its name lived on in the Scripps-Howard New York World-Telegram, and then later the New York World-Telegram and Sun in 1950, and finally was last used by the New York World-Journal-Tribune from September 1966 to May 1967. At that point, only one broadsheet newspaper was left in New York City.
Alarmism is excessive or exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threat, such as the increases in deaths from an infectious disease. In the news media, alarmism can be a form of yellow journalism where reports sensationalise a story to exaggerate small risks.Broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio (via air, cable, and Internet), television (via air, cable, and Internet) and the World Wide Web. Such media disperse pictures (static and moving), visual text and sounds.Civic Center, Manhattan
The Civic Center is the area of lower Manhattan, New York City, that encompasses New York City Hall, One Police Plaza, the courthouses in Foley Square, and the surrounding area. The district is bound on the west by Tribeca at Broadway, on the north by Chinatown at Worth Street or Bayard Street, on the east by the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge at South Street, and on the south by the Financial District at Ann Street.Cuban War of Independence
The Cuban War of Independence (Spanish: Guerra de Independencia cubana, 1895–98) was the last of three liberation wars that Cuba fought against Spain, the other two being the Ten Years' War (1868–1878) and the Little War (1879–1880). The final three months of the conflict escalated to become the Spanish–American War, with United States forces being deployed in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands against Spain. Historians disagree as to the extent that United States officials were motivated to intervene for humanitarian reasons but agree that yellow journalism exaggerated atrocities attributed to Spanish forces against Cuban civilians.Dirty Laundry (Don Henley song)
"Dirty Laundry" is a hit song written by Don Henley and Danny Kortchmar, from Henley's Gold-plus debut solo album I Can't Stand Still, released in 1982. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart in October 1982, prior to being issued as a 45. Lyrically, the song describes mass media sensationalism and yellow journalism.
Released as the second single from I Can't Stand Still, it spent three weeks at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1983. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing sales of over 500,000 records in the US.History of American newspapers
The history of American newspapers begins in the early 18th century with the publication of the first colonial newspapers. American newspapers began as modest affairs—a sideline for printers. They became a political force in the campaign for American independence. Following independence the first article of U.S. Constitution guaranteed freedom of the press. The U.S. Postal Service Act of 1792 provided substantial subsidies: Newspapers were delivered up to 100 miles for a penny and beyond for 1.5 cents, when first class postage ranged from six cents to a quarter.
The American press grew rapidly during the First Party System (1790s-1810s) when both parties sponsored papers to reach their loyal partisans. From the 1830s onward, the Penny press began to play a major role in American journalism. Technological advancements such as the telegraph and faster printing presses in the 1840s also helped to expand the press of the nation as it experienced rapid economic and demographic growth. Editors typically became the local party spokesman, and hard-hitting editorials were widely reprinted.
By 1900 major newspapers had become profitable powerhouses of advocacy, muckraking and sensationalism, along with serious, and objective news-gathering. During the early 20th century, prior to rise of television, the average American read several newspapers per-day. Starting in the 1920s changes in technology again morphed the nature of American journalism as radio and later, television, began to play increasingly important competitive roles.
In the late 20th century, much of American journalism became housed in big media chains. With the coming of digital journalism in the 21st century, all newspapers faced a business crisis as readers turned to the Internet for sources and advertisers followed them.Jazz journalism
Jazz journalism was the period of journalism that followed yellow journalism and lasted through the 1920s. Jazz journalism tended to cover subjects such as Hollywood, sex, violence, and money, with an emphasis on photography and sometimes colorful writing. It was a New York phenomenon, practiced primarily by new tabloid-size newspapers, convenient for readers on subways and designed to display large page one photographs for a newsstand sales. The tabloids' popularity was controversial, but also influenced the city's and nation's more traditional broadsheet newspapers. Jazz journalism was a sensationalist style of news that matched its era, the rebellious Roaring Twenties, a dramatic change from the somber news stories of World War I.
The new tabloid newspapers featured provocative headlines and photographs, and stories about entertainment celebrities, sex scandals, and murder trials.Man bites dog (journalism)
The phrase man bites dog is a shortened version of an aphorism in journalism which describes how an unusual, infrequent event (such as a man biting a dog) is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence with similar consequences, such as a dog biting a man. An event is usually considered more newsworthy if there is something unusual about it; a commonplace event is less likely to be seen as newsworthy, even if the consequences of both events have objectively similar outcomes. The result is that rarer events more often appear as news stories, while more common events appear less often, thus distorting the perceptions of news consumers of what constitutes normal rates of occurrence.
The phenomenon is also described in the journalistic saying, "You never read about a plane that did not crash".The phrase was coined by Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865–1922), a British newspaper magnate, but is also attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848–1921): "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news." The quote is also attributed to Charles Anderson Dana (1819–1897).Some consider it a principle of yellow journalism.Markíza
Markíza is a television station in Slovakia launched on 31 August 1996. The station was owned by the politician Pavol Rusko, and is now part of the Central European Media Enterprises(through AT&T/WarnerMedia). The CEO is Matthias Settele.Muckraker
The term muckraker was used in the Progressive Era to characterize reform-minded American journalists who attacked established institutions and leaders as corrupt. They typically had large audiences in some popular magazines. In the US, the modern term is investigative journalism—it has different and more pejorative connotations in British English—and investigative journalists in the US today are often informally called "muckrakers".
The muckrakers played a highly visible role during the Progressive Era period, 1890s–1920s. Muckraking magazines—notably McClure's of the publisher S. S. McClure—took on corporate monopolies and political machines while trying to raise public awareness and anger at urban poverty, unsafe working conditions, prostitution, and child labor. Most of the muckrakers wrote nonfiction, but fictional exposes often had a major impact as well, such as those by Upton Sinclair.In contemporary American use, the term describes either a journalist who writes in the adversarial or alternative tradition, or a non-journalist whose purpose in publication is to advocate reform and change. Investigative journalists view the muckrakers as early influences and a continuation of watchdog journalism. In British English the term muckraker is more likely to mean a journalist (often on a tabloid newspaper) who specialises in scandal and malicious gossip about celebrities or well-known personalities and is generally used in a derogatory sense.
The term is a reference to a character in John Bunyan's classic Pilgrim's Progress, "the Man with the Muck-rake", who rejected salvation to focus on filth. It became popular after President Theodore Roosevelt referred to the character in a 1906 speech; Roosevelt acknowledged that "the men with the muck rakes are often indispensable to the well being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck..."New York Press (historical)
The New York Press was a New York City newspaper that began publication in December 1887 and continued publication until July 2, 1916, when its owner Frank Munsey merged it with his newly-purchased Sun. The New York Press published notable writers such as Stephen Crane.
Its editor Erwin Wardman coined the term "yellow journalism" in early 1897, to refer to the work of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. Wardman was to first to publish the term but there is evidence that expressions such as "yellow journalism" and "school of yellow kid journalism" were already used by newsmen of that time. Wardman never defined the term exactly, although possibly it was a mutation from an earlier slander where Wardman twisted "new journalism" into "nude journalism". In 1898 the paper simply elaborated: "We called them Yellow because they are Yellow."Press Sports Editor Jim Price coined the name "Yankees" to describe the New York American League baseball team, then known as the "Highlanders". Ernest J. Lanigan, a renowned baseball statistician who founded Baseball Magazine and published The Baseball Cyclopedia, the first encyclopedia about "America's Pastime", also served as sports editor on the Press.New York World
The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. The paper played a major role in the history of American newspapers. It was a leading national voice of the Democratic Party. From 1883 to 1911 under publisher Joseph Pulitzer, it became a pioneer in yellow journalism, capturing readers' attention and pushing its daily circulation to the one-million mark.Next Digital
Next Digital Limited (Chinese: 壹傳媒有限公司), previously known as Next Media Limited, founded by Jimmy Lai, has 4,041 employees (as of 30 Sep 2013) and is the largest-listed media company in Hong Kong.
Subdivisions include Next Media Interactive. The corporation is known for introducing tabloid-style journalism into Hong Kong and Taiwan that set trends in both markets. Apple Daily was the first newspaper to use the massive graphics, bold headlines and full colour pages now common to all best-selling papers in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Next Media publications are also known for highly sensationalised articles which attract a wide range of readers, including critics. Next Media has often taken a clear and sometimes proactive support for democratic groups in Hong Kong. Some companies with ties to the government of China never advertise in any papers or magazines owned by Next Media.The bold style of journalism seems to trigger constant troubles with the triads with incidents of criminal damages at the offices of Next Media. Apple Daily and its parent company Next Media are thought to be pioneer of paparazzi and yellow journalism in Hong Kong. A notable incident happened in 2006 when Gillian Chung, a member of singing group Twins, was shot changing clothes at the backstage by spy camera installed by a subsidy magazine of Next Media. The case triggered debated over paparazzi acts in Hong Kong and regulation of paparazzi was considered.Starting from 20 October 2015, the English name of the company has been changed from Next Media Limited to Next Digital Limited.Propaganda of the Spanish–American War
The Spanish–American War (April–August 1898) is considered to be both a turning point in the history of propaganda and the beginning of the practice of yellow journalism.
It was the first conflict in which military action was precipitated by media involvement. The war grew out of U.S. interest in a fight for revolution between the Spanish military and citizens of their Cuban colony. American newspapers fanned the flames of interest in the war by fabricating atrocities which justified intervention in a number of Spanish colonies worldwide.
Several forces within the United States were pushing for a war with Spain. Their tactics were wide-ranging and their goal was to engage the opinion of the American people in any way possible. Men such as William Randolph Hearst, the owner of The New York Journal was involved in a circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and saw the conflict as a way to sell papers. Many newspapers ran articles of a sensationalist nature and sent correspondents to Cuba to cover the war. Correspondents had to evade Spanish authorities; usually they were unable to get reliable news and relied heavily on informants for their stories. Many stories were derived from second or third hand accounts and were either elaborated, misrepresented or completely fabricated by journalists to enhance their dramatic effect. Theodore Roosevelt, who was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy at this time, wanted to use the conflict both to help heal the wounds still fresh from the American Civil War, and to increase the strength of the US Navy, while simultaneously establishing America as a presence on the world stage. Roosevelt put pressure on the United States Congress to come to the aid of the Cuban people. He emphasized Cuban weakness and femininity to justify America's military intervention.The Brass Check
The Brass Check is a muckraking exposé of American journalism by Upton Sinclair published in 1919. It focuses mainly on newspapers and the Associated Press wire service, along with a few magazines. Other critiques of the press had appeared, but Sinclair reached a wider audience with his personal fame and lively, provocative writing style. Among those critiqued was William Randolph Hearst, who made routine use of yellow journalism in his widespread newspaper and magazine business.
Sinclair called The Brass Check "the most important and most dangerous book I have ever written." The University of Illinois Press released a new edition of the book in 2003, which contains a preface by Robert W. McChesney and Ben Scott. The text is also freely available on the Internet, as Sinclair opted not to copyright the text in an effort to maximize its readership.
For much of Sinclair's career he was known as a "two book author": for writing The Jungle and The Brass Check. Sinclair organized ten printings of The Brass Check in its first decade and sold over 150,000 copies.The Yellow Kid
The Yellow Kid was the name of a lead American comic strip character that ran from 1895 to 1898 in Joseph Pulitzer's New York World, and later William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. Created and drawn by Richard F. Outcault in the comic strip Hogan's Alley (and later under other names as well), it was one of the first Sunday supplement comic strips in an American newspaper, although its graphical layout had already been thoroughly established in political and other, purely-for-entertainment cartoons. Outcault's use of word balloons in the Yellow Kid influenced the basic appearance and use of balloons in subsequent newspaper comic strips and comic books.
The Yellow Kid is also famous for its connection to the coining of the term "yellow journalism." The idea of "yellow journalism" was the sensationalized stories for the sake of selling papers, which was named from the "Yellow Kid" cartoons. Although a cartoon, Outcault's work aimed its humor and social commentary at Pulitzer's adult readership. The strip has been described as "... a turn-of-the-century theater of the city, in which class and racial tensions of the new urban, consumerist environment were acted out by a mischievous group of New York City kids from the wrong side of the tracks."Trade journalism
Trade journalism reports on the movements and developments of the business world by way of articles or analysis. Trade journalism also refers to industry-specific news, such as exclusive focus on commodities (e.g. oil, gas and metals) or sectors (finance, travel, food). Due to its business nature, trade journalism is often expected to process and interpret a substantial amount of market commentary.William Randolph Hearst
William Randolph Hearst Sr. (; April 29, 1863 – August 14, 1951) was an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician known for developing the nation's largest newspaper chain and media company, Hearst Communications. His flamboyant methods of yellow journalism influenced the nation's popular media by emphasizing sensationalism and human interest stories. Hearst entered the publishing business in 1887 with Mitchell Trubitt after being given control of The San Francisco Examiner by his wealthy father.
Moving to New York City, Hearst acquired the New York Journal and fought a bitter circulation war with Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Hearst sold papers by printing giant headlines over lurid stories featuring crime, corruption, sex, and innuendo. Acquiring more newspapers, Hearst created a chain that numbered nearly 30 papers in major American cities at its peak. He later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world. Hearst controlled the editorial positions and coverage of political news in all his papers and magazines, and thereby often published his personal views. He sensationalized Spanish atrocities in Cuba while calling for war in 1898 against Spain.
He was twice elected as a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives. He ran unsuccessfully for President of the United States in 1904, Mayor of New York City in 1905 and 1909, and for Governor of New York in 1906. During his political career, he espoused views generally associated with the left wing of the Progressive Movement, claiming to speak on behalf of the working class.
After 1918 and the end of the Great War, Hearst gradually began adopting more conservative views, and started promoting an isolationist foreign policy to avoid any more entanglement in what he regarded as corrupt European affairs. He was at once a militant nationalist, a fierce anti-communist after the Russian Revolution, and deeply suspicious of the League of Nations and of the British, French, Japanese, and Russians. He was a leading supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932–34, but then broke with FDR and became his most prominent enemy on the right. Hearst's empire reached a peak circulation of 20 million readers a day in the mid-1930s. He was a bad manager of finances and so deeply in debt during the Great Depression that most of his assets had to be liquidated in the late 1930s. Hearst managed to keep his newspapers and magazines.
His life story was the main inspiration for Charles Foster Kane, the lead character in Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane (1941). His Hearst Castle, constructed on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Simeon, has been preserved as a State Historical Monument and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.