Recently I was walking down 4th street and I passed by a news-stand. The headline said, “400 killed by Spanish death camps”.  Now I myself am a journalist and this headline grabbed my attention. I promptly bought the newspaper, which was the New York Journal, and read the article. William Randolph Hearst, the owner of the publication, has been putting in many stories about the cruelties of Spain ever since the sinking of USS Maine. It’s given him his biggest story yet: War (Great Projects Film Company, Inc2). So I researched what was said in the article and found that many sources, pictures, quotes, and interviews have been fabricated. It was during my research I discovered that many stories, not only by Hearst, have been completely false. I learned from my research that this form of Journalism is called Yellow Journalism. And Yellow Journalism is the reason why the Spanish-American War even occurred.
    In 1898, the USS Maine sailed into Havana Harbor, Cuba to protect Americans on shore. At 9:40 on February 15 the USS Maine Exploded due to, as the Naval Board called it, “A mine underneath the bow of the ship”(NavalHistory.mil1).  The press went crazy and blamed the Spanish for the explosion. Thus was the beginning of the Spanish-American war. The two names that stood out the most in my research were William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer: the owners of the New York Journal and the New York World. These two went on a publishing battle that grew immensely out of control. Articles were published that pushed many Americans towards war with Spain (Wierichs2).
    While looking through old articles I discovered a cartoon called “The Yellow Kid”, and came to the conclusion that it was the root of the term Yellow Journalism. So, I researched it and learned that my hunch was indeed correct. The famous cartoonist, Robert Outcault, drew several cartoons that were first published in The World, until Hearst hired him away to produce the cartoon in his newspaper. Pulitzer, in response, hired another artist to produce the same strip in his newspaper. This comic strip happened to use a new special, non-smear yellow ink, and because of the significance of the comic strip, and so the term "yellow journalism" was born (Library.thinkquest.org4).
The publishing war between the giants of news brought about false knowledge to the public. The news that once informed true facts were now supplied false, bias fantasy. As I learned when I uncovered a telegraph to Hearst himself from his correspondent in Cuba, Frederick Remington. Remington was able to go to Cuba January of 1897. Remington noticed that none of elaborate battles written about were actually happening. He telegraphed to Hearst: "Everything is quiet. There is no trouble. There will be no war. I wish to return." Hearst quickly replied: "Please remain. You give me the pictures and I'll give you the war."(library.thinkquest.org5).
This is evidence that the Spanish-American war was one that was controlled by the media. It was perhaps even the first one to be so. Newspapers were the one thing that controlled the opinion of the people of the U.S. Due to industrialization it was simple for newspaper barons to print hundreds of thousands of copies for cheap. Thus the spread of media began and continues to control much of our lives today. And so, in my investigation into the heart of Yellow Journalism, I’ve learned that it was the true cause of the Spanish-American war.

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