The Hearst Business Empire
IF ON his seventy-second birthday William Randolph Hearst looked back over his long career he must have admitted that in all but one respect he had been a supreme failure. With greater initial opportunities than had fallen to the lot of any other leader of public opinion in America, he had so terribly misused them that at the end he had sunk to be a follower of the D.A.R. and Mrs. Dilling of The Red Network. As a reformer, he was discredited even by himself. As a journalist, he owned twenty-nine papers, but not one of them was a newspaper in the proper meaning of the word. As a politician, he had been defeated in every movement he had undertaken. As a man, he was, as Professor Beard had said, held in universal contempt by the thinking people of the country. It was not a pleasant record to survey. To be considered, as he was, a trickster in reform, a liar in journalism, a charlatan in politics, a hypocrite in morals -- what was there left? The greatest of all: for according to the authorized biography of Mrs. Fremont Older, likely to be authentic on this point at least, he had accumulated the second largest fortune in America. This single claim could not be denied even by his worst enemies; he was one of the mightiest of all American captains of industry. This alone amply entitled him, according to his final political philosophy, to his position as a leader of public opinion.
Again and again his fortune had come to his rescue to save him from the worst effects of the schizophrenia that had wrecked his personality at the beginning. Though his neuroticism had