Fake Newspaper Stories Severe Crop Failure in Soviet Union

About a fake news story that ran in William Randolph Hearst's newspapers about a severe crop failure in the Soviet Union.


9. SEVERE CROP FAILURE IN SOVIET UNION Hearst newspapers, 1935

Virulently anti-Soviet, Hearst used his papers to spread propaganda, often based on untruths, against the Russians. For example, in 1935 Hearst papers ran a series of articles about severe crop failures in the U.S.S.R.; these were written by a self-styled reporter using the alias Thomas Walker, who turned out to be an ex-jailbird named Robert Green who had escaped from a Colorado state prison in 1921. Not surprisingly, Walker/Green had been incarcerated for forgery. As was usual with such Hearst campaigns, photographs were used to back up the series, but they were actually of the Volga famine in 1921. Ironically, the same papers carried another series of articles, written by foreign correspondent Lindsay Parrott, which spoke glowingly of the fruitful Russian harvest of 1935. Hearst's other "hoaxes" included atrocity stories that helped foment American intervention in Cuba and the Spanish-American War; faked stories and pictures that helped to create resentment against Mexico in 1927; and photographs of rebel atrocities mislabeled as Loyalist atrocities during the civil war in Spain.

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