Did Yellow Journalism Cause The Spanish American War?

602 words - 2 pages

W. A. Swanberg argues that writers used crude exaggeration and sensationalism in the popular New York Journal newspaper to persuade the American citizens and President William McKinley to attempt to free Cuba by starting a war against Spain. William Randolph Hearst was the owner of this particular newspaper. Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer were both big names in the United States and had the power to sway popular opinion with their wealth. Their habits, personalities, and ways of life did not have much similarity. Immediately after the start of the trouble in Cuba, Hearst was ready to get involved with fighting in Spain. On the other hand, Pulitzer was not ready until after the war due to circulation. Just like other great leaders of the past, Hearst loved to be in control and have power. He used the newspaper as a way of influencing millions of people and masking his own beliefs behind the black and white pages.
In 1898, three big events got in the way of any peaceful resolution in Cuba. The New York Journal received a letter from the Spanish minister in Washington, Enrique Dupuy de Lome. This letter discussed whether or not the Spanish government actually wanted autonomy for Cuba. The Journal published this stolen letter which was supposed to be kept confidential. Another key event during this time period was the riot in Havana, Cuba by the pro-Spanish loyalists. A battleship was sent to the harbor in Havana to try to protect Americans. While sitting in the harbor, the ship blew up and killed 260 American service personnel. The Spanish government claimed that the explosion was due to internal failures, but the Americans reported that the ship blew up because of a mine. The final factor that lead to the Spanish-American War were the reports that President McKinley received from public...

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