When did William Randolph Hearst say “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”?

William Randolph Hearst said “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war” in 1897.

His newspapers were notorious for finding news, even where there was none.

In 1897, things were tense between the United States and Spain, and rumors of war were widespread.

Fueled by patriotism and a desire for inflammatory front-page material for his paper, Hearst sent illustrator Frederic Remington to Cuba in the hopes of getting exclusive views of the war’s onset.

When nothing happened, Remington asked to come home, and that’s when Hearst issued that now-famous promise.

His statement wasn’t too farfetched. The Examiner and other newspapers soon swayed public opinion that colonial Spain needed to leave Cuba and make way—as other Latin American countries had—for U.S. expansion.

Not long after Hearst cabled these words, the American ship, the Maine, blew up from a faulty boiler. The American public was so inflamed that it wasn’t hard to get them to believe that Spain had bombed the U.S. battleship.

The Spanish-American War began, and Hearst got his front-page stories for weeks afterward.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

1 thought on “When did William Randolph Hearst say “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”?”

  1. A good story, but this almost certainly didn’t happen. There is only one source for this tale – James Creelman another Hearst journalist – who was in Europe in January 1897 when Remington and Richard Harding Davis were in Havana. There is no physical record of either cable extant, and Hearst denied that it ever happened. Remington never mentioned it either. Hearst was very open about his attitudes and actions to help nudge America to war, so it’s likely he wouldn’t have denied this story unless it was false.

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