William Randolph Hearst
According to journalist George Seldes:
"Hitler had the support of the most widely circulated magazine in history, Readers Digest, as well as nineteen big-city newspapers and one of the three great American news agencies, the $220-million Hearst press empire.
Hearst…was the lord of all the press lords in the United States. The millions who read the Hearst newspapers and magazines and saw Hearst newsreels in the nation's moviehouses had their minds poisoned by Hitler propaganda."
Seldes recounts that the American Ambassador to Germany, William E. Dodd, told him that
"[When] Hearst came to take the waters at Bad Nauheim [Germany] in September 1934…Hitler sent two of his most trusted Nazi propagandists…to ask Hearst how Nazism could present a better image in the U.S. When Hearst went to Berlin later in the month, he was taken to see Hitler."
Seldes reports that a $400,000 a year deal was struck between Hearst and Hitler, and signed by Doctor Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister. "Hearst," continues Seldes, "completely changed the editorial policy of his nineteen daily newspapers the same month he got the money."
In court documents filed on behalf of Dan Gillmor, publisher of a magazine Friday, in response to a lawsuit by Hearst, he states:
"Promptly after this visit with Adolf Hitler and the making of said arrangements... plaintiff, William Randolph Hearst, instructed all Hearst press correspondents in Germany, including those of INS (Hearst's International News Service) to report happenings in Germany only in a friendly manner. All of correspondents reporting happenings in Germany accurately and without friendliness, sympathy and bias for the actions of the German government, were transferred elsewhere, discharged, or forced to resign."
In the late 1930s, Seldes recounts, when "several sedition indictments [were brought by] the Department of Justice...against a score or two of Americans, the defendants included an unusually large minority of newspaper men and women, most of them Hearst employees."
Source: Randy Davis, "Nazis in the Attic"
William Randolph Hearst is known as one of the largest media moguls of all time. During the 1930s, he worked with the Nazi party to help promote a positive image of the Nazi party in American media. He also received loans from Italian fascist bankers during this time. The actions of Hearst were an important element in shaping American sentiment about not getting involved in the political situation in Europe as many Americans were lead to believe that there was nothing terribly wrong going on in Europe, and even after the war started some Americans continued to support the Nazi regime based on the propaganda that they had been exposed to through Hearst media sources.
Source: "This War Is About So Much More."
In 1935, John Spivak described Hearst's:
"current efforts to scare up the 'Red' bogey as one of the first steps in preparing the country for Fascism. Hearst, with his chain of newspapers reaches millions of readers. Just before he started his anti-Red drive he returned from a visit to Germany where he had conferred with Hitler and other Nazi leaders. Shortly after his arrival home he stated in a front page editorial that this country need not fear Fascism, that Fascism can come only when a country is menaced by Communism."
Source: John Spivak, New Masses, Feb. 5, 1935