Hearst, William Randolph

William Randolph Hearst (1863–1951) is one of the most controversial and disparaged names in journalism. Hearst was a wealthy editor, publisher, entrepreneur, politician, art collector, and studio owner whose career helped define several periods of innovation and excess in American news media. He was a vigorous, larger-than-life character to whom the barnacles of media myth are firmly attached. That Hearst wielded such dark power as to foment a war is but one example. This entry examines Hearst’s career, his journalism, his political aspirations, his private life, and his legacy.

Early Years and Rise in Journalism

Hearst was born in San Francisco in 1863, the only son of a Missouri farmer, George Hearst, who struck it rich as a mining entrepreneur in California. His doting mother, Phoebe, was ...

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