Thesis

A libertarian dynasty: publishers of The Orange County Register, 1935-1987

This thesis examines the histories and libertarian philosophies of the four publishers of The orange County Register beginning in 1935 when, known as the Santa Ana Register, it was acquired by Raymond Cyrus (R.C.) Hailes. R.C. co-published the Register with his son Clarence until his death in 1970 at age 91. Clarence continued as publisher, and later as his brother Harry's co-publisher, until both were replaced in 1979 by Clarence's son-in-law, R. David Threshie. The thesis ends in 1987 at the dismissal of a seven-year lawsuit filed by Harry which threatened to break up Freedom Newspapers, Inc. , the billion-dollar, family-owned corporation founded by R.C. Hailes. Freedom is the nation's fourteenth largest newspaper corporation in combined daily circulation. Its flagship, the Register -- one of 29 Freedom dailies nationwide-is California's third largest and Orange County's dominant newspaper. Greatly leading in circulation the local edition of the Los Angeles Times, the Register is known for comprehensive local reporting and outstanding use of graphics and color photography. The focus of the thesis is on the libertarian philosophy held by the four publishers. Libertarianism is based on a belief in a free market economy and the individual's absolute right to life, liberty and property. Under R.C., the Register was widely ridiculed for advocating that philosophy. Yet under Threshie, the "outsider" who married into the Hoiles family and worked his way up to the publisher's position, the Register has gained the industry's respect -- despite the fact that its editorials continue, to this day, to reflect basic libertarian principles.

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