Journalism and Propaganda

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Yellow Journalism was one of many factors that pushed Spain and the United States into war in Cuba. Yellow journalism is journalism that is based upon sensationalism and crude exaggeration. Yellow Journalism has been going on for more than a century it first started in 1898 when the New York press covered the sinking off the U.S.S. Maine in the Havana Port. “As time passed history was being made by an unscrupulous press, driven to sensationalize stories and fabricate facts in a vest for eyeballs and dollars. Later, critics of yellow journalism saw its sensationalism and dishonesty as a business strategy.” Yellow journalism has been a dominant way to make easy money now and will continue throughout time.

When yellow journalism was first starting out in 1898 there were these two men named William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer and to capture readers interests and to increase circulation rates, the papers would create bold headlines, and misleading or exaggerated new stories. These men battled for years to become the most popular paper but in the end neither ended up winning. There are many characteristics of yellow journalism some include Scare Headlines, Fake photos, Faked interviews or stories, Sunday color comics. Scare headlines are headlines that are used to scare the reader usually against someone else's campaign, Fake photos are more used in recent years with the rise of photoshop to make a photo seem like that actually happened just for a good story, Faked interviews or stories are completely made up answers or stories to help benefit the people who are selling the news, Lastly Sunday color comics which also includes ads. These ads include big bold lettering to gain your attention and pictures and ratings that are not real or correct. The biggest use of these characteristics were in the Spanish American War (1898) “The rise of yellow journalism helped to create a climate conducive to the outbreak of international conflict and the expansion of U.S influence overseas.' This shows how the U.S. was helped pushed by yellow journalism to declare war with Spain in Cuba and the Philippines.

World War 1 was very important for yellow journalism, this is about the time where propaganda came major into play. The most effective way to use propaganda was by using posters because radios and television were not big yet. The posters message was that failure to enlist was akin to treason. “The ability of posters to inspire, inform, and persuade combined with vibrant design trends in many of the participating countries to produce thousands of interesting visual works. As a valuable historical research resource, the posters provide multiple points of view for understanding this global conflict. As artistic works, the posters range in style from graphically vibrant works by well-known designers to anonymous broadsides.” World War 1 propaganda was a big way to recruit and started to introduce itself in to music and entertainment. The poster that was most famous in World War 1 was American painter James Montgomery Flagg’s “ I want you”, it shows Uncle Sam pointing a finger right at the audience. More than 4 million of these posters were printed out which is an enormous amount during the war.

World War 2 was not too different from World War 1, still containing plenty of propaganda and fake news. Once again posters during 1939-1945 were the most effective use of propaganda. There were also other ways such as movies, newsreels, and radio shows. These posters and other propaganda were made by the office of war information, the posters encouraged volunteerism. The most famous poster made which is still used today is the We Can Do It “As women were encouraged to take wartime jobs in defense industries, they became a celebrated symbol of female patriotism. But when the war ended, many industries forced women to relinquish their skilled jobs to returning veterans.” This shows what the poster was mainly used for to get more people to join the war, and then after the war to send the veterans back to their everyday jobs.

The cold war was a rivalry between the U.S and the Soviet Union that lasted from 1947-1991. As well as World War 1 and World War 2 yellow journalism and propaganda were still in full affect, but now through this long stretch of time technology and the ways propaganda was spread becomes more advanced. The peak of propaganda during the Cold War was in the 50’s and 60’s, it was mostly promoted with film, television, literature, art and music. The people who were in charge of a good amount of this propaganda was the government, they produced the material for politics. Just recently we found out about a story that actually contained yellow journalism in the Cold War it reads “ It was a 1985 cable from the Stasi, the former East German police, outlining how the Soviet Union and its allies were working to promote the idea that AIDS was an American biological weapon.” This shows how the Soviet Union was trying to control the people's beliefs and fears by giving them so called fake news.

The post cold war era, Yellow Journalism has spread all over the entire world as easy as a click off a button. Technology is ten times as advanced as it used to be when it had started with William and Joseph. Almost everyone has a handheld phone nowadays or even a television in the house, everyday most big news channels are 24hrs a day and they need stories that are interesting enough to talk about. “ Recent evidence shows 62 percent of U.S Adults get news on social media and many people who see fake news report that they believe them. An example of Yellow Journalism was very recently with the California fires, “Conspiracy videos suggesting that the California wildfires were lit by government laser beams have clocked up millions of views on YouTube.” Even though to some people to think that the government set the forests on fire with a laser on purpose is false, there is also that huge group of others who believe that this could have actually happened.

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Journalism And Propaganda. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved September 30, 2023 , from

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