Michael De Young
You have to understand those who control the media in order to understand how they shape what we think we know. This is Michael De Young, the founder of one of the media dynasties in San Francisco. With his brother, Michael founded the Daily Dramatic Chronicle in 1865, which is today's Chronicle. They were a rather provocative pair -- Charles was once shot by someone offended by a campaign he was running.
The Chronicle was essentially a blackmail sheet, and became enormously popular because of it. Michael lived into the 1920s and founded a dynasty which is still very much with us. It controls the SF Chronicle and much else besides. He used the paper, as all the families did at that time, for his own ends, in this case to launch his family into the center of San Francisco's aristocracy, the ancien regime. Which was difficult because he was at least half Jewish, and you couldn't get into San Francisco WASP aristocracy at that time with that kind of baggage. His daughters were sent to French convents and brought out to Napa. He used the Chronicle to get up in society, and he was utterly shameless about it which makes wonderful reading if you go back to the original copies.
For example, in 1894 he sponsored the Midwinter Exposition in Golden Gate Park. He sets aside the front page to a picture of him dedicating the new De Young Museum, and to an inset of his portrait. The whole front page is taken up, glorifying himself.
One of the most useful things the Bay Guardian ever did was to publish the genealogy of the De Young family:
Michael DeYoung and his wife produced five children. Charles DeYoung, their only son, died early while out fishing. So the De Young name dies out. Unlike the Hearsts, there are no De Youngs, but there are branches, because the four daughters provide the children coming down.
Tung De Young married Joseph Tobin, a descendent of the founder of the Hibernia Bank, the largest bank in San Francisco. Mimi Young married Theriot, a French aristocrat, and that comes down and Charles De Young married Barbara Tobin, and comes down this side. And what do we have here? John Parot... and more Tobins... there's a whole slew of Hillsborough families, including Christian Geens, who own Stauffer Chemicals for example, various others. This is ranching, real estate, industry, banking, virtually everything you can name, tied in with the De Young family, which explains a great deal about certain editorial policies.
--from a talk given by Gray Brechin at New College of California, fall 1994