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Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
Unformatted Document Text:  Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers 5 Though it drew official reprimands, Barrett’s experiment in freelance gunboat diplomacy was called by the Evening Post of San Francisco “A Reprisal Which Will Have Good Moral Effect on Other Asiatic Nations.” 6 By outflanking those inside government with his access to increasingly influential public opinion, Barrett had survived, and even flourished; despite remaining a Democrat his posting continued for more than a year after the Republican McKinley administration took office in 1897. During that time, a State Department warning to ministers and consuls against sending materials to the press appears to have had little impact on Barrett, who, though far from alone in the practice, was perhaps the most prolific of the double-dipping diplomat scribes. Undaunted, he continued to write and sell articles promoting American interest in Asia – as well as his own ever higher profile as an Asia Hand. He also encouraged others to push “the Trans-Pacific Opportunity,” sending the San Francisco Examiner fifty dollars as a prize for the California reporter writing the best essay on California-Orient trade development and making a similar offer to the Portland Oregonian. 7 His unsolicited dispatches covered the desks of newspaper editors across the United States, complete with headlines expertly tailored to connect local concerns with his message of Pacific commercial expansion. To the Atlanta Constitution, for example, his message on "The South and the Far East" was "Asia’s Millions Want Cotton” — American cotton, not Egyptian or Indian cotton — and if a Nicaragua canal were to be dug, new markets for the region’s leading crop would open wide. 8 Barrett’s emphasis, however, remained on the Pacific coast conduits for the great trade he promoted. “Will the Pacific coast of the United States . . . win its share of the spoils,” he asked the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, “Or wait . . . until it is too late and the prizes are captured by her more

Authors: Vaughan, Christopher.
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background image
Rival Visions: Reportorial Approaches, Audience Preferences, and New Frontiers
5
Though it drew official reprimands, Barrett’s experiment in freelance gunboat
diplomacy was called by the Evening Post of San Francisco “A Reprisal Which Will
Have Good Moral Effect on Other Asiatic Nations.”
6
By outflanking those inside
government with his access to increasingly influential public opinion, Barrett had
survived, and even flourished; despite remaining a Democrat his posting continued for
more than a year after the Republican McKinley administration took office in 1897.
During that time, a State Department warning to ministers and consuls against sending
materials to the press appears to have had little impact on Barrett, who, though far from
alone in the practice, was perhaps the most prolific of the double-dipping diplomat
scribes. Undaunted, he continued to write and sell articles promoting American interest in
Asia – as well as his own ever higher profile as an Asia Hand. He also encouraged others
to push “the Trans-Pacific Opportunity,” sending the San Francisco Examiner fifty
dollars as a prize for the California reporter writing the best essay on California-Orient
trade development and making a similar offer to the Portland Oregonian.
7
His unsolicited
dispatches covered the desks of newspaper editors across the United States, complete
with headlines expertly tailored to connect local concerns with his message of Pacific
commercial expansion. To the Atlanta Constitution, for example, his message on "The
South and the Far East" was "Asia’s Millions Want Cotton” — American cotton, not
Egyptian or Indian cotton — and if a Nicaragua canal were to be dug, new markets for
the region’s leading crop would open wide.
8
Barrett’s emphasis, however, remained on
the Pacific coast conduits for the great trade he promoted. “Will the Pacific coast of the
United States . . . win its share of the spoils,” he asked the editor of the San Francisco
Chronicle, “Or wait . . . until it is too late and the prizes are captured by her more


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