A BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT THE EMPLOYMENT OF
SLUGGERS BY HEARST PAPERS
By N. D. Cochran, Editor of The Day Book.
It is interesting to note that The Chicago American, a Hearst
paper, is suddenly very much interested in finding out where boy
bandits get started on the downward path, and that, through a
learned preacher, The American has found out that the school of
crime in Chicago is located in tough poolrooms, where boys con
gregate. There may be some truth in that, but does it cover all the
I've been watching Chicago more or less for a number of years,
and more particularly during the past two years. And whatever
blame may be justly attached to the poolfooms, I don't see how some
newspapers are going to dodge their share of responsibility.
When Hearst started his American in Chicago, on July 4, 1900,
his entrance into the Chicago field was strenuously opposed by other
Chicago publishers, who had come to believe that Chicago belonged
to them, and that no outside publisher had a right to trespass on
At that time Hearst's American was a staunch and fearless
advocate of the rights of labor, and Hearst himself had proven him
self to be a powerful influence for the working class.
Organized labor got behind him with all its might and helped
give The American a big circulation. Even then, Hearst's agents
found it necessary to hire -ex-prize fighters and sluggers to protect
The American on the streets and news stands. His rivals did the
It has been the practice ever since for some Chicago newspapers
to have sluggers in the employ of their circulation departments,
some of them mere boys ; and while the sluggers of one paper would
slug the sluggers of another, still nothing was printed in any of the
papers about the scraps, few arrests were made, and the public knew
little or nothing about it.
This practice could not have lasted through 13 years had there
been full publicity of what was going on. I don't think there will
be much of it in the future, because it finally resulted in several mur
ders, committed by sluggers and gunmen who had been employed in
. Jhe circulation departments of some of the big newspapers. Of
course none of the publishers ever contemplated murder.
It had grown to be such an established system, that when
Hearst turned his back on organized labor, after it had given him his
circulation in Chicago, and he had joined the publishers' association,
the slugging was kept up. Hearst had become a part of the system
that had tried to keep him put of Chicago.
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