SAT Subject US History Practice Question 685: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 685

36. Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst were similar in that both were

A. muckraking journalists who wrote articles that exposed government corruption.
B. moralizing commentators who chastised the public for their vices.
C. anti-imperialist editorial writers who pushed the United States in an isolationist direction.
D. publishers who owned newspapers, which sensationalized accounts of events.
E. writers of non-English newspapers that appealed to recently arrived immigrants.

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Despite the fact that excellent newspapers receive Pulitzer Prizes today, Pulitzer himself and his competitor, William Randolph Hearst, were associated with sensationalistic "yellow journalism." Such journalism is seen as a contributing factor to the United States declaring war on Spain in the Spanish-American War, making (C) incorrect. Progressive era journalists, such as Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell, were considered muckrakers (A). An important public moralizer (B) in the 19th century was Anthony Comstock, founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Important anti-imperialists of the late 19th and early 20th century were Carl Schurz and Mark Twain (C). The immigrant, foreign-language press has been vibrant in America from the mid-19th century until the present day-but it was not Pulitzer and Hearst's field (E).

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