You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war

In 1897, the illustrator Frederic Remington was sent to Cuba. His mission was to capture and send pictures of locals protesting to an American newspaper.

On arriving at Cuba, he found that everything was quiet. He was bored and he cabled back to his employer, William Randolph Hearst, ‘Everything quiet. There is no trouble here. There will be no war. Wish to return.’

In response, Hearst wrote back, ‘Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.’

Yellow journalism was a movement that started around this time. It revolved around sensationalism rather than reporting facts. Joseph Pulitzer (of Pulitzer prize fame) was one of its pioneers. Ever since, journalism has revolved more around sensation rather than truth.

Todays journalists have access to infinitely more pictures than they did back in 1897. And as long as the journalists have pictures, there will be war in their papers.

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