Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Her Contemporaries: Literary and Intellectual Contexts

By Cynthia J. Davis; Denise D. Knight | Go to book overview

4
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Randolph Hearst, and the Practice of Ethical Journalism

Denise D. Knight

They today of the Yellow Press
Grow rich in hardened wantonness
By the “nose for news” and the “enterprise”
Of insolent shameless hireling spies. …

On sin and sorrow the ferret thrives;
They finger their fellows' private lives,
And noisily publish far and wide
What things their fellows most fair would hide. …

Under the Press Power great and wide
Their unsigned slanders cower and hide
From outraged Justice they slink behind
Shadowy Companies false and blind.…

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Reporter”

In a diary entry dated February 23, 1893, American feminist author Charlotte Perkins Stetson [Gilman] (1860–1935), who was embroiled at the time in a highly publicized and controversial divorce proceeding, noted an encounter that would mark a turning point in her career: “The Examiner sends me a man, Mr. Tod [sic], to interview me on my views on the Marriage Question—the decrease of marriage [in society]. I refuse on the ground of the Examiner's reputation—will not write for the paper. He begs, he tries to fool me into conversation, he argues, he offers to pay me, he threatens covertly—I succeed in getting rid of him. Am exhausted by the contest, however ” (Diaries 518).

The San Francisco Examiner, a William Randolph Hearst publication,

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