The Impact Media has During War
“Spanish-American War of 1898”
It was late in the evening and the battleship the Maine drifted calmly through the water of Havana to “protect Americas interests” stated be Fitzhugh Lee. Everything seemed to be looking bright with a new Spanish ruler in Cuba. Even many of the officers were entertained by the Spanish and thoughts of going home were in the air. The small battleship was second-class to that of its counterparts in the Pacific. It was the biggest battleship to enter the Havana harbor. As soon as the calm night appeared, roaring explosions and blinding flashes filled the air. Could the battleship Maine be under attack while on such great terms? Captain Sigsbee as he was writing a letter to his wife remembered everything. Captain Sigsbee said,
“I laid down my pen and listened to the notes of the bugle, which were singularly beautiful in the oppressive stillness of the night. . . . I was enclosing my letter in its envelope when the explosion came. It was a bursting, rending, and crashing roar of immense volume, largely metallic in character. It was followed by heavy, ominous metallic sounds. There was a trembling and lurching motion of the vessel, a list to port. The electric lights went out. Then there was intense blackness and smoke.
The situation could not be mistaken. The Maine was blown up and sinking. For a moment the instinct of self-preservation took charge of me, but this was immediately dominated by the habit of command.” (1)
Sigsbee climbed to the deck of the ship to see it sinking into the ocean. He had to abandon ship. The wreckage of the ship floated days after this all happened.
Investigations of this incident took place by both the Spanish and the United States with both countries coming out with different outcomes. What made this incident burst into such a fiasco? The media was the cause of such an uproar from the general public. Soon after the explosion and before the investigations, the newspapers already wrote about Spain attacking and for the people to be ready for the war. This wasn’t the first time the newspaper started such pandemonium. It all started with Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst starting a form of writing called yellow journalism. These two people brought media into a war and may have even started the Spanish-American War of 1898.
To get an idea of what truly happened, the background of this war must be stated. At this time Cuba was trying to gain independence form Spain. Spain was trying to so anything in their power to control this. So the decided to hire General Valeriano Weyler to do all of their dirty work for them. He had a past that was very violent when it came to wars. He decided to establish a system called the reconcentrado. This was a system where they decided to take all the Cubans that lived in the country side and put them in camps where they did not have a possibility to join the revolution. With all of...