What role did yellow journalism play in the Spanish-American War?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Yellow journalism played a role in the Spanish-American War by helping to arouse public opinion in the United States, making many Americans angry at Spain. 

Yellow journalism was sensationalistic journalism.  Yellow journalists exaggerated the severity of events that happened to make them seem more important or more dramatic than they really were.  Sometimes, they even went so far as to make up events that they though would sell newspapers. 

Yellow journalists were eager to write stories about Cuba.  Many Cubans were participating in an uprising against Spain and Americans were on the side of Cuba because it was a colony.  Americans did not like colonial powers and so they were opposed to Spain’s control of Cuba.  Yellow journalists wrote stories exaggerating or inventing Spanish atrocities in Cuba.  Eventually, yellow journalists asserted that Spanish agents had blown up the USS Maine in the harbor at Havana.  By doing these things, yellow journalists enflamed public opinion against Spain and helped cause Americans to support going to war against that country.

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