Hearst over Hollywood: Power, Passion, and Propaganda in the Movies

By Louis Pizzitola | Go to book overview
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8
Trader
1914–1918

WIRELESS

In the fall of 1914, through the auspices of the International News Service, the Hearst newspaper chain published a dramatic photograph of a capsized British battleship, the S.S. Audacious, that had been wrecked by a German torpedo. Until that moment, England, maintaining a strict control of war news because of its virtual monopoly on cable communications, had repeatedly denied that the sinking had occurred. It was now confronted with the black-and-white newsprint truth, and it was humiliated. The British-born George Allison, Hearst's INS man in London since 1912, had obtained the pictures of the H.M.S. Audacious. Allison was charged with keeping a steady flow of illustrations going to the New York office. “There was a wild scramble for photographs of anything appertaining to war,” he recalled, “soldiers, weapons, ships, aircraft and the rest of the panoply. I contacted every photographic agency in London and asked them to submit photographs.”

Later, Allison acknowledged that the Audacious photographs came to him more through “luck and chance” than through hard work. One day, at the bar of London's Press Club, Allison struck up a conversation with a man who was waiting for an appointment with a Belfast newspaper editor. Several drinks later Allison realized there was no sign of the editor. Allison's companion suggested that one possible reason for the delay was his editor

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