Despite working exclusively in the web for that last decade, it’s hard to escape the love of the newspaper business.
Stepping into the newsroom on that first day, we met colorful characters face-to-face. You know what we mean. Newsrooms attract a different breed - iconoclasts all.
There are the tough, smart-talking types. The quiet insightful ones. The quiet, kinda creepy ones. The angry ones. The apathetic ones with a sprinkle of cynicism. There are the eager newbies.
We could go on but one figure continues to reign as the most colorful of all, William Randolph Hearst.
His brand of journalism was sensational to the extreme. He practically invented micro-managing and used telegrams as freely as some editors use email.
His controversial news coverage provoked anger, outrage - and a federal investigation.
According to this case file (#8000-2290) from the Bureau of Investigation (precursor to the FBI), starting around 1916 Hearst was under investigation for allegedly financing a Mexican revolt and being a German sympathizer during the first Great War.
With more than 500 pages in this case file, it will take some time to piece together everything that happened but here are some excerpts found on Footnote:
A BOI report directing agents to investigate Hearst’s ranch for matters of war neutrality in 10 October 1916.
Memo to J. Edgar Hoover (sub req’d) outlining evidence of Hearst’s attempts to get rights to film along Germany front around 1915.
An anonymous letter (sub req’d) calling for Hearst to be hung and his publications closed “for the benefit of our country and humanity in general”