Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Maybe 'twas ever thus

In my previous post, I mentioned the late Hymie Koshevoy, so in a sudden desire to find out more, I Googled him and found an intriguing anecdote online.

Fifty years earlier, one should note, newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer allegedly stirred up the Spanish-American War -- including the famous (possibly apocryphal) order from Hearst to the painter Frederick Remington, after Remington had told him he couldn't send him pictures of any war in Cuba because there was no war in Cuba: "you furnish the pictures - I'll furnish the war".

That Wikipedia article, by the way, gives credit to Pulitzer's New York Journal for exposing the horrors of the tenements in the late 19th Century and spurring the reforms. But it was actually a beat reporter, Jacob Riis, using the newly invented flash camera, publishing his own book, How The Other Half Lives, that really ignited public outrage among "the other half".

You can read that book, by the way, and imagine Vancouver, instead of New York, and "Downtown East Side" instead of "Five Points" or "The Bowery" in practically every sentence and description.

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