Today, in the 21st century, we are faced with an unprecedented variety of media, not only newspapers and radio but also television and the Internet.
This dramatically expands the possibilities for shaping public opinion for financial or, more importantly, political gain.
This becomes especially important when it comes to elections and referendums, which make important decisions for the country’s future.
But at the time, the only source of information people could rely on was newspapers. Its importance has grown accordingly.
This article examines What Yellow Journalism is and how did yellow journalism affect the Spanish-American war.
This article is divided into five main parts. The first part is about “yellow journalism,” where the main focus is given due to the complexity of this topic. Its origins—the conflict between the two most influential editors of the time, Hurst and Pulitzer—are examined, and the term itself is defined.
Other important reasons for the outbreak of war are:
Empire building and business interests The third part focuses on specific events, such as the US explosion.
The states of Maine and how they were presented to Americans in the media, more specifically in newspapers, leads to his second-to-last part exploring the outbreak of war.
Finally, let’s dive into “yellow journalism.” How did yellow journalism affect the Spanish-American war
Table of contents
Origin, Definition, and Development of Yellow Journalism
It is necessary first to describe how the phrase “yellow journalism” came to be used before defining it.
Therefore, a closer examination of the key players in the acrimonious conflict that eventually gave rise to and spread yellow journalism is necessary.
The Rivalry between New York Editors Pulitzer and Hearst
The New York World, the first editor to establish a major newspaper that “was the most profitable newspaper in the nation” in 1886, was founded by Joseph Pulitzer, a Hungarian native born in 1847.
He came to the United States as a penniless immigrant but quickly secured a position at the St. Louis Newspaper.
His distinctive style, which combined news and editorials that provoked thinking with crime and public interest issues that needed in-depth investigative reporting, helped him rise through the ranks of journalism.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was then created after he acquired two failing newspapers and combined them. In doing so, he helped establish a new school of journalism that used larger headlines, more illustrations, and more color.
This enabled Pulitzer to speak directly to his target audience—the vast majority of everyday Americans.
He then relocated to New York City and bought the New York World there. His goal was to create a newspaper that would serve New York’s working class and immigrants by providing news and entertainment.
Only a year and a half after taking control, The World became the city’s leading circulation publication thanks to his outstanding success.
William Randolph Hearst was his opponent. He was the son of a very successful mining engineer and was born in California in 1863.
His years at Harvard, which culminated in his expulsion from the university owing to a practical joke, demonstrate his lack of intellectual interest. However, he was drawn to journalism, most likely because of the new techniques and Pulitzer’s quick success in New York.
As a result, when he was 24 years old, his father gave him the San Francisco Examiner, a failing newspaper he had purchased. He did surprisingly well there, in part due to his unrestricted financial resources and in part due to his intense devotion to journalism.
After experiencing great success in San Francisco, he finally felt ready to take on Pulitzer by purchasing the Morning Journal, a failing New York daily.
Hearst still needed something more to truly threaten Pulitzer’s World’s dominant position after simplifying the name to just the Journal and lowering the cost to just one penny.
He now decided to do “something Pulitzer had not stopped to overt manipulation and distortion of the news,” in addition to bold, large headlines, enlarging images, and sensationalistic treatments.
Thus, it is evident that Hearst and Pulitzer did not hesitate to employ dubious techniques to boost circulation and maintain newspaper dominance.
Coining of the Term Yellow Journalism
Before defining “yellow journalism,” it’s helpful to look at how it was coined and understand its historical context.
Besides Pulitzer and Hearst, other important editors competed in fin-de-siècle New York journalism. In this work, however, only his one publisher is significant.
Erwin Wardman. He is probably the one who coined the term “yellow journalism.” Whether he was the first to use the term is still debated. Some ambiguous claims from others who may have neologized the phrase before, such as Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun. But Wardman was the first to publish the term in his New York Press, shortened to “yellow journalism.”
The first publication (Yellow Kid Journalism) was an offshoot of Yellow Kid. The Yellow Kid was the main character in the hugely popular Ducky Hogan’s Alley comic strip.
It first appeared in New York World on Sunday and was drawn by Richard F. Outcault. Revolutionary cartoons printed in color enveloped the common people.
It deals with high society issues and concerns but is only exhibited by ghetto children. The language was influenced by Irish immigrant slang and was far from correct English.
The iconic character was popularly called the Yellow Kid because he appeared in an oversized bright yellow nightgown.
Definition of the Term Yellow Journalism
“Journalism based on sensationalism and gross exaggeration.”
That’s the Oxford Dictionary definition of yellow journalism. However, this simple sentence only scratches the surface of the subject.
Nonetheless, an explanation of its meaning is helpful for better understanding.
When the term was coined, Yellow’s journalism was dominated by the rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, particularly his R.F. coat. It later “expanded into the sensational style of two publishers.”
Yellow journalism is defined in many ways as an attempt to increase reader interest, such as with larger, bolder headlines, more attractive illustrations, frequent use of color, especially in Sunday editions, and attractive layouts.
On the one hand, it marks an important and progressive step from the traditional monotonous and boring newspaper to a reader-friendly, colorful, modern one.
On the one hand, this case shows how unethical people can act to maximize their profits. In public opinion, Hirst’s and Pulitzer’s immoral behavior is examined in more detail.
How did Yellow Journalism affect the Spanish American War?
The conflict between Cuba and Spain consisted of a liberation war against Spanish colonial rule by Cuban rebels.
The first serious Cuban revolutionary uprising, which began in 1868, served as “a precursor to the uprising of 1895” and called for economic and political reforms. Independence broke out.
The intervention of the US military in the conflict does not happen only because he is suitable for two publishers’ circulation and higher profits.
There were other reasons for the US to intervene. First, the situation in Cuba was dire. To put an end to the bloody rebellion, Spain implemented a so-called regrouping policy.
This consisted of moving the general peasant population to cities under Spanish control so that the rebels could be more easily distinguished. However, the conditions in which Cubans were held were inhumane, and “surely more than 100,000 died”.
The colonial government’s oppression of the Cuban people is unacceptable to any sane person.
Secondly, there was a growing tendency for European countries to start doing what they were already doing: imperialism. A third reason consists of various business interests in the dispute.
“Yellow journalism” is the term used to describe sensational or biased articles that newspapers offer as the real deal. The phrase was created in the late 19th century to disparage the unconventional methods used by their rivals.
Yellow journalism, used by newspapers to draw readers and boost circulation, involves sensationalized news and graphic features. The expression was created in the 1890s to characterize the strategies used in the fierce rivalry between the World and the Journal, two newspapers in New York City.
The term “yellow journalism” was first used in a New York World comic strip called “Hogan’s Alley,” which featured a yellow-clad character called “the yellow kid.” William Randolph Hearst, the owner of the rival New York Journal, was determined to outdo Pulitzer’s World in every way, so he copied Pulitzer’s sensationalistic approach.
The atrocities committed by General Weiler in Cuba were highly publicized and sensationalized in US newspapers, engulfing the practice known as “yellow journalism.” His two central figures in the press at the time were William R. Hurst and Joseph Pulitzer.
Hirst “stole” even Pulitzer’s most famous writers by persuading them to defect with promises of money and status. Hurst’s most important publication was the New York Journal, and Pulitzer’s was the New York World.
Both happily invented stories to increase circulation. In response to rumors of Wailer’s abuse circulating in Cuba around 1896, Hirst sent artists to Cuba to paint and paint atrocities. Chief among Hearst’s artists was Frederick Remington.
Upon arriving in Cuba, Remington Hirst reported that the rumors had been exaggerated. Hirst famously replied, “If you supply the photograph, we will arm the war.” Hirst’s testimony was egomaniacal and boastful but not far from the truth.
An image of Remington in Hearst magazine went a long way in arousing public interest in Cuba in the United States.
Even though American yellow journalism overstated Weyler’s actions, those overstatements had a grain of truth. Spain called Weyler in 1897 after realizing how out of control he had become in Cuba to quell the yellow press.
Some Spanish citizens and lawmakers began debating Cuba’s independence from Spain. When Cuba declared independence, the Spaniards began rioting out of fear for their safety and property.