William Randolph Hearst
Under William Randolph Hearst, the New York Morning Journal remained loyal to the populist wing of the Democratic Party, and was the only major publication in the East to support William Jennings Bryan and Bimetallism in 1896. Their coverage of that historic election was probably the most important of any newspaper in the country, exposing both the unprecedented role of money in the Republican campaign and the dominating role played by William McKinley’s political and financial manager, Mark Hanna, the first national party ‘boss’ in American history. Only a year after taking over the paper, Hearst could boast that sales of the Journal’s post-election issue (including the Evening and German-language editions) topped 1.5 million, a record “unparalleled in the history of the world.”
William Hearst’s outlook from the 1930s was ultra-conservative, nationalist and anti-communist. His politics were the politics of the extreme right. In 1934 he travelled to Germany, where he was received by Hitler as a guest and friend. After this trip, Hearst’s newspapers became even more reactionary, always carrying articles against socialism, against the Soviet Union and especially against Stalin. Hearst also tried to use his newspapers for overt Nazi propaganda purposes, publishing a series of articles by Goering, Hitler’s right-hand man. After his visit to Hitler, Hearst’s sensationalist newspapers were filled with ‘revelations’ about the terrible happenings in the Soviet Union – murders, genocide, slavery, luxury for the rulers and starvation for the people; all these were the big news items almost every day. The material was provided to Hearst by the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s political police. On the front pages of the newspapers there often appeared caricatures and falsified pictures of the Soviet Union, with Stalin portrayed as a murderer holding a dagger in his hand.
So you might think that something happened between 1896 and the 1930s, right? A kind of David Horowitz or Christopher Hitchens evolution, you’d think.
Well, maybe not.
From Greg Mitchell’s “Change of the Century”:
At the 1932 Democratic convention, [Joseph P.] Kennedy helped swing the support of William Randolph Hearst, who controlled the make-or-break California delegation, to Roosevelt. As head of the party’s finance committee, he raised an estimated one hundred thousand dollars from his Wall Street cronies, donated twenty-five thousand dollars of his own money to the FDR campaign, and lent the party another fifty thousand dollars. He wooed A. P. Giannini, the leading California banker, out of the Hoover camp and into Roosevelt’s. During a vacation trip with FDR, Kennedy’s secretary, Edward Moore, amused fellow guests with the prediction that if everyone lived long enough, they would witness one of Joe’s sons taking office as the nation’s first Catholic president.
Meanwhile, Joe Kennedy—the father of DP icons Jack, Bobby and Teddy—had his own issues with Nazism as Seymour Hersh pointed out in his book “The Dark Side of Camelot” (this was before he lost his mind):
There is no evidence that Ambassador [Joseph] Kennedy understood in the days before the war that stopping Hitler was a moral imperative. “Individual Jews are all right, Harvey,” Kennedy told Harvey Klemmer, one of his few trusted aides in the American Embassy, “but as a race they stink. They spoil everything they touch. Look what they did to the movies.” Klemmer, in an interview many years later made available for this book, recalled that Kennedy and his “entourage” generally referred to Jews as “kikes or sheenies.”
Kennedy and his family would later emphatically deny allegations of anti-Semitism stemming from his years as ambassador, but the German diplomatic documents show that Kennedy consistently minimized the Jewish issue in his four-month attempt in the summer and fall of 1938 to obtain an audience with Hitler. On June 13, as the Nazi regime was systematically segregating Jews from German society, Kennedy advised Herbert von Dirksen, the German ambassador in London, as Dirksen reported to Berlin, that “it was not so much the fact that we wanted to get rid of the Jews that was so harmful to us, but rather the loud clamor with which we accompanied this purpose. He himself understood our Jewish policy completely.” On October 13, 1938, a few weeks before Kristallnacht, with its Brown Shirt terror attacks on synagogues and Jewish businesses, Kennedy met again with Ambassador Dirksen, who subsequently informed his superiors that “today, too, as during former conversations, Kennedy mentioned that very strong anti-Semitic feelings existed in the United States and that a large portion of the population had an understanding of the German attitude toward the Jews.”
Kennedy knew little about the culture and history of Europe before his appointment as ambassador and made no effort to educate himself once in London. He made constant misjudgments. In the summer of 1938, for example, he blithely assured the president in a letter, described in the published diaries of Harold Ickes, FDR’s secretary of the interior, that “he does not regard the European situation as so critical.” Diplomats serving on the American Desk in the British Foreign Office quickly came to fear and hate Kennedy. They compiled a secret dossier on him, known as the “Kennediana” file, which would not be declassified until after the war. In those pages Sir Robert Vansittart, undersecretary of the Foreign Office, scrawled, as war was spreading throughout Europe in early 1940: “Mr. Kennedy is a very foul specimen of a double-crosser and defeatist. He thinks of nothing but his own pocket. I hope that this war will at least see the elimination of his type.”
Kennedy remained insensitive, at best, about the Jewish issue through the later war years, when the existence of concentration camps was widely known. In a May 1944 interview with an old friend, Joe Dinneen of the Boston Globe, Kennedy acknowledged, when questioned about his alleged anti-Semitism: “It is true that I have a low opinion of some Jews in public office and in private life. That does not mean that I hate all Jews; that I believe they should be wiped off the face of the earth. . . . Other races have their own problems to solve. They’re glad to give the Jews a lift and help them along the way toward tolerance, but they’re not going to drop everything and solve the problems of the Jews for them. Jews who take an unfair advantage of the fact that theirs is a persecuted race do not help much. . .. Publicizing unjust attacks upon the Jews may help to cure the injustice, but continually publicizing the whole problem only serves to keep it alive in the public mind.” Kennedy’s discussion of anti-Semitism was withheld from publication at the time by the editors of the Globe, but in 1959 Dinneen sought to include a portion of it in a generally flattering precampaign family biography. Advance galleys of the Dinneen book, entitled The Kennedy Family, had been given to Jack Kennedy, who understood how inflammatory his father’s comments would be and had no difficulty in successfully urging Dinneen to delete the offending paragraphs. The incident is described in Richard Whalen’s biography of Joe Kennedy.
When I read this sort of thing, I am reminded of why I took an oath never to vote for a Democrat, not even if was Bhaskar Sunkara running for President rather than Bernie Sanders. It’s BS to me across the board.