Yellow Journalism And The Spanish-American War

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During the 1890s, journalism that sensationalized Cuban affairs became a powerful force that helped fuel anti-Spanish and pro-war feelings in the United States (“Yellow Journalism”). This type of journalism, called yellow journalism, relied on exaggerating stories in order to lure readers and increase newspaper sales (“Yellow Journalism”). Led by New York World owner Joseph Pulitzer and New York Journal owner William Randolph Hearst, yellow journalism played a significant role in pushing the United States’ decision to declare war on Spain in 1898 (“U.S. Diplomacy”). Prior to the Spanish-American War, Cuba’s struggle for independence was met with American sympathy, as General Valeriano Weyler tried to crush the revolution launched by José …show more content…

Maine exploded (“U.S. Diplomacy”). On February 15, 1898, six days after the de Lôme scandal, the battleship U.S.S. Maine blew up in Havana Harbor, killing 268 men (“February 15, 1898”). At the time, the reason for the explosion was unknown (Danzer). However, the American press, with no evidence, blamed the destruction of the Maine on the Spanish (“February 15, 1898”). Newspaper headlines read, “Spanish Treachery!” and “Maine Explosion Caused by Bomb or Torpedo?” (“February 15, 1898”; Cova). On February 17, 1898, the New York Journal headline read “Destruction of the War Ship Maine Was the Work of an Enemy!” (Hearst). The front page featured “Naval Officers Think the Maine was Destroyed by a Spanish Mine” and “Assistant Secretary Roosevelt Convinced the Explosion of the War Ship Was Not an Accident” (Hearst). William Randolph Hearst and his newspaper offered a $50,000 reward “for the detection of the perpetrator of the Maine outrage” (Hearst). As many Americans assumed Spain was responsible for the explosion of the Maine, the U.S. public demanded intervention in Cuba, with the rallying cry of “Remember the Maine!” (Danzer). On April 9, 1898, the Spanish agreed to almost all of the United States’ demands, including a six-month cease-fire (Danzer). Despite this, the public still favored war, and on April 20, 1898, the Spanish-American War began

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