The Instigator
Aubsbarker
Pro (for)
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The Contender
olso859
Con (against)
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Yellow journalism and the Spanish-American war

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 827 times Debate No: 71518
Debate Rounds (3)
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Aubsbarker

Pro

Yellow journalism had little affect on the start of the Spanish-American war. There is no clear evidence that the journalism that was reporting on the sinking of the U.S. Maine started the USA's involvement in the war. The journalists at the time were producing stories that would please to their audience, they were not worried about the truth. Therefore simple journalism did not have an affect on the USA entering the war. The power of a story did not send the USA to war. Also, at this time no one knew exactly what caused the sinking of the ship, so the journalists had to make a story, so they made one to interest readers. If the newspapers did not produce a story to explain why the ship sunk they would have lost readers to other newspapers, so they had to make something up. Even if it stretched the truth, it was a story that would interest the population. No story in a newspaper could generate so much talk in a country to send them to war. The USA's involvement started with the USA wanting to intervien, not cause of a story. The USA saw an opportunity for more land if the interviened, so they took their chance and went to war. Therefore the Spanish-American war did not begin because of yellow journalism.
olso859

Con

Yellow Journalism had a great influence on the U.S. intervening into the Spanish American War. Had it not been for journalists like William Randolph Hearst, the U.S. would not have been riled up enough to join. It is true that the article "The Warship Maine Was Split In Two By An Enemy's Secret Infernal Machine!', was written to draw customers to Hearst's newspaper. However, the article became much more than words on paper. Journalists had created hatred in the citizens that made them want revenge. It was not the only reason the U.S. entered the war, but it was the yellow journalism saying Spain had attacked the USS Maine that tipped them over the edge.
Debate Round No. 1
Aubsbarker

Pro

Words on paper have little affect on a war. Especially words on a newspaper. The only words that can have a major affect on a war are words from the president or general. Yellow journalism did not put the USA into war, but rather interested more of the population into see what was going to happen. The misleading in the newspaper made more Americans pay attention to what was happening in the world, if the USA was going to go to war and what was going to happen between them and Spain. This article started talk in the nation, people were talking about more important things rather than plain gossip. People started to get involved in what decisions the government would make and how they would enforce them. This whole ordeal gave people an insight to what the government was like, by how they would handle the situation. The article also brought back the major feeling of patriotism from the civil time era. People wanted to defend their country from everything. Yellow journalism brought many things to the nation, but it did not put the country into a war.
olso859

Con

Words in newspapers do have a large impact on war. Behind written words, are a person's thoughts. It is true Hearst wrote the article to sell more newspapers, but that did not change the impact of his words. In 1898, Americans did not know Hearst was using yellow journalism. They thought his story was a reliable account of what had happened. Now we know that he was lying, but at the time, citizens were curious and scared from the sinking of the USS Maine. They found relief in Hearst's article because they had an answer to the sinking and they had someone to blame. This is similar to how Hitler used Jews as a scapegoat to Germany's problems. Germans found comfort in Hitler's words and banded together to take action. Americans found comfort in Hearst's words and banded together to enter the Spanish American War.
Debate Round No. 2
Aubsbarker

Pro

Words from a leader or a person in power has more impact than words on paper. The words coming directly from someone of power gives citizens hope, not words on a paper. The people in this time were experiencing new things everyday, due to a changing world, but they found their entertainment in things like the newspaper where they can read and be entertained. The words that were in that paper were meant to draw people to read, not to inform. Yes, the purpose of a newspaper is to tell people about what is happening, but people wanted to be entertained not informed. Hearst knew that, he knew the story that he was putting out would make people interested and make them want to read the newspaper. That was his motive behind the article. He knew that a story about a little fire causing the ship to sink would interest no one, so he had to stretch the truth. What the leaders of our country did at the time was what people paid attention to, they did not focus on what a newspaper said. Yellow journalism had little affect on the start of the Spanish-American war.
olso859

Con

Words from a leader may have more of an impact on a country, but that does not mean words of citizens don't have any influence. Everyone has a voice, and people do care about it. But what is not important, is who wrote the article. What is important, is the emotion yellow journalism stirred into the hearts of Americans, anger. They wanted vengeance for the sinking of the USS Maine. Yes, the newspaper was written to entertain the buyers, but that doesn't mean they were emotionless to what they read. If they had read about the ship being sunk by an accidental explosion, they would have been sad but not angry. Because yellow journalism blamed Spain for the sinking of their ship, Americans were so furious that they wanted war. Had it not been for the use of yellow journalism, the United States would not have been enraged enough to join the Spanish American War.
Debate Round No. 3
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