Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hearst's Yellow Cabinet

Today I’m posting a trio of cartoons featuring characters from Hearst’s stable of comic strips for biting, even vicious, political comment. On the top is master propagandist Louis Raemaekers use of Krazy Kat in the Toronto Star for October 5, 1917. The Star’s special arrangement was probably with Britain’s Department of Information whose Director in early 1917 was Colonel John Buchan, author of the thrillers Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle and The Three Hostages. Buchan was named Governor-General of Canada in 1935.

Raemaeckers (1869-1956), a Dutch cartoonist, left home with a price on his head and went to work for the British under Charles F. G. Masterman at Wellington House. Raemaeckers’ propaganda cartoons, particularly those that relentlessly attacked the Germans over the so-called Belgian atrocities, served many purposes. They mobilized public hatred for the enemy, instilled pride in Britain and the Empire, sought to win over the neutral nations (especially America), and demoralized the Germans.

A British cartoonist and Strand magazine contributor, Alfred Leete, was responsible for the famous recruiting poster featuring Lord Kitchener pointing an accusing finger and shaming young men into the recruiting offices.

The nasty-looking collections of Yellow Kids below are profitably used to attack the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst. They were reprinted in the Canadian magazine Toronto Saturday Night, published August 12, 1899. The artist signs himself May. Last I have a cartoon poking fun at Hearst’s failed run for the presidency of the United States from January 1904 as reprinted in the Winnipeg Free Press. This cartoon is signed in full but illegible.

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