As Hawai‘i’s oldest continuously-published newspaper, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin has a complex history. The paper was first conceived in 1870 as the Daily Marine Bulletin by Henry M. Whitney after he was forced to sell the Pacific Commercial Advertiser --the forerunner of the Honolulu Advertiser -amid criticism for his condemnation of the government’s role in importing labor from Asia. Soon after the sale, Whitney began posting a hand-written, single-sheet daily news bulletin titled the Daily Marine Bulletin from his stationary and book business. The Daily Marine Bulletin included news and information on ship arrivals and mail dispatches and yet was reproached by the Advertiser: “The title of ‘Marine’ Bulletin appears to us a misnomer, seeing that gossip and criticism is [sic] freely and rather recklessly indulged in, as to matters that are not the least marine in their nature.” The comment marked the beginning of what would be a long rivalry between the two papers.
Beginning May 16, 1895, the Daily Bulletin was continued by the Evening Bulletin, which by 1898 was under the leadership of former Honolulu Advertiser editor and future Territorial Governor Wallace R. Farrington. One month later the Evening Bulletin absorbed Daniel Logan’s short-lived Independent and quickly emerged as a strong advocate for Hawaiian annexation and statehood. On July 1, 1912, the Evening Bulletin merged with the Hawaiian Star to form the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. American businessman Joseph B. Atherton had established the Hawaiian Star in Honolulu as the official voice of the Provisional Government following the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. Needless to say that, with the “Star” in its title symbolizing the American flag and firm editorials warning Hawaiians against bringing back any form of monarchy, theHawaiian Star was consistently pro-American and pro-annexation.
Much like its predecessors, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin maintained a consistently pro-American editorial stance. It campaigned strongly in favor of statehood throughout the first half of the 20th century and has promoted American political and economic interests in Hawai‘i ever since. In 2010, Honolulu Star-Bulletin owner David Black of O‘ahu Publications purchased the rival Honolulu Advertiser from Gannett Company and announced plans to merge the two papers; the new paper is called the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.