How did the yellow journalism effect the Spanish-American War ?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yellow Journalism had a big impact on the Spanish-American War. Newspapers were competing for readers so they often exaggerated headlines to sell papers. The Spanish were ruling in Cuba, and they weren’t treating the Cubans well. The news stories that came out of Cuba exaggerated how poorly the Spanish government was treating the Cubans.

In the 1890s, newspapers were the main source of information about events happening in the United States and throughout the world. The United States was looking to become a world power and most likely would have to go to war to get the colonies it needed to become a world power. Thus, as the newspapers exaggerated events in Cuba, American public opinion turned against the Spanish. Americans, who believed in spreading manifest destiny worldwide, began to advocate for going to war against the Spanish in order to help the Cubans. Public opinion was in favor of going to war.

A few other events pushed us toward war. When the Spanish ambassador criticized the President, Americans became more incensed with Spain. When the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Americans were quick to blame Spain. People, who were upset and angry by the exaggerated news stories about the Spanish treatment of the Cubans, now wanted President McKinley to declare war. This declaration of war came in 1898.