America's Imperialist Expansion

Yellow Journalism

The New York World

William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal Headline

William Randolph Hearst

“…to assert that these two journalistic enterprises [Hearst and Pulitzer] were capable of dragging a reluctant nation into battle is both misleading and erroneous.” (Pg. 124) 

Yellow Journalism is sometimes given too much credit for the United State’s involvement in the Spanish-American War. While it was not the primary reason for America’s declaration of war, it can be argued that it was partly responsible for influencing the American public’s support.

The two most influential and prosperous Yellow Journalists were William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal, and Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World. Both of their careers depended solely upon the amount of newspapers they could sell. Therefore, both men championed sensationalist claims over factual news stories. The result of such practices created a new type of Journalism called “Yellow Journalism.”

The most significant piece of Yellow Journalism, and arguably the most influential, was the report of the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. Although there was no evidence suggesting foul play, Hearst’s New York Journal ran the headline “Destruction of the War Ship Maine Was the Work of an Enemy.”  Almost every major newspaper in the country ran similar headlines, despite lack of evidence. 

These stories, which villainized the Spanish and promoted Cuban independence, emmensley influenced the average citizen’s emotions. 


Spencer, R. S. (2007). The Yellow Journalism: The Press and America’s Emergence

           as a world Power. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. 

Yellow Journalism