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Column, March 8, 1935, Page 2


What We Think

            William Randolph Hearst and Bruno Richard Hauptmann: We link the two names together, not became of the atrocious crimes that both have committed against society, because, perhaps, they are, fundamentally alike. At least the psychologists thirk so.

            District Attorney David Wilentz used as the basis for its attack on Hauptmanm, the Adlerian psychology, which contends that it is the inferiority complex which is the root of all evil. He pointed out the consistency of Hauptmann's crimes in aiming always at the highest, the most famous, the center of attention. A feeling of inferiority, claimed Wilentz, was responsible for this.

            Now Lawrence Martin. associate professor of English and Journalism at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, written in The Social Frontier, a journal of Educational Criticism and Reconstruction asks:


            "The secret of Hearst, to one who knows him, only through his newspapers and their reports of others, seems to be an enormous will to power which may spring from a profound sense of inferiority. Is Hearst integrated only around an ego which is hungry for mastery? A revealing word picture shows the man in his Riverside Drive apartment surrounded by statues of Napoleon, of Caesar crossing the Rubicon, of Saint George with his foot on the dragon."

            We see all through his "striped" career this desire to attract attention on a large scale. It was a practical joke that resulted in Heart's expulsion (he is the man who publishes. the "paper for the people who think") from Harvard University. In 1887, millionaire Senator Heart bought for hie incorrigible twenty-three year o1d son the San Francisco Examiner. Copying the Joseph Pulitzer recipe for Journalism–two cups full of sex, three tablespoons of crime, a spattering of wealth, a pinch of the unusual, mixed together to make emotion–young Hearst started the Examienr on a skyrocketing career of popularity. In 1895, he repeated the experiment on the Morning Journal of New York. This was during the days of the Spanish-American war, fought nobly by Hearst, who not only commanded his fleet, and, trouserless, leaped into the water to round up a score of half-drowned Spanish seamen, but also raised his circulation to approximately a million.

      The Columbia University humor magazine. the Jester, ridicules Hearst in the pages of its February issue. In an article entitled "The Vanishing American" they print:

            "Who promotes TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND PUBLIC SERVICE? There is. a man t in our midst–a man who is our foremost t benefactor, educator, and owner of a chain of newspapers. A man who–a man who, I say, improves the public Mind and nourishes the national understanding. Modesty prevents me from revealing that I am that man." (From the writings of William Randolph Erse.)

            Yet. as a representative jury found in the case of Hauptmann, as the American public, which is now judging Hearst is finding, both of these men have been led by this imperator complex, this acquisitive appetite, to decidedly anti-social activities, Hearst has practically destroyed journalism as a profession, he has substituted a press composed largely of distortion and misquotation. He has invented prejudices.

            Lincoln Steffins, in his Autobiography, admires Hearst as a man without moral illusions. As "case number 6798," Hearst might be an interesting laboratory experiment for students in Philosophy 1 or 8, but as a "great man," a national hero, a molder of public opinion and sentiment, Hearst is an immediate threat to the right of those students to free education, speech, press, and opinion. It is up to us to defeat and expose the efforts of Hearst to Hitlerize the American Universities; it is up to more than a million teachers to make the anti-Hearst campaign effective. As the Hauptmann judge said, before conviction, "There is no recommendation for leniency."



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May 20, 2004