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What is yellow journalism?
The term yellow journalism originated with comments on Hogan’s Alley and its main character “the Yellow Kid”, which was created by cartoonist Richard Outcault for the publisher Pulitzer in the New York World. In the late 1890’s Pulitzer was in a subscription war with William Randolph Hearst and the New York Journal. Both Pulitzer and Hearst wanted to engage New York’s readers.
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The dictionary defines the term yellow journalism as deliberate distortion or exaggeration to fuel speculation with the intent of increasing circulation. It is not anything resembling accurate news reporting. It insinuates the opinions of the publishers or authors into what is reported as news with the intent of fueling speculation at the expense of the truth. In the late nineteenth century it was used to fuel anti-Spanish sentiment and contributed to goading the United States into the Spanish American War.
Yellow Journalism has been used in every period of history since the term was coined. Every time there is a major event in our history the press has always lent its own personal bent to the story. In many instances the press has published outrageous headlines with little or no sources cited for the story line. It is a technique that works with the average reader, especially today. Our time is getting more and more challenged. When we look for something, we zero in on the headline and if it shocks or tantalizes us we read the story. Not all examples of yellow journalism are bad. Some newspapers or digital media stick to the facts and investigate their sources. The technique they use to present the story or headline can be similar.
Today there are members of the press who think they should make the story instead of reporting it. The unsuspecting public is exposed to all types of news reporting. Many people associate the media with what it was shortly after World War II and the Vietnam War. The public is divided evenly on whether to believe what they read or hear in the newspapers, digital media or airwaves. The media for the most part is controlled by liberal leaning financiers, and this is reflected in the reporting and labeling of the subject of the story. Liberals tend to side with the secular point of view and to expound upon the emotions generated by different people and entities. This makes the job of the discerning reader that much more difficult. They have to delve deep into each article to arrive at the truth if the truth is there.
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The average person is influenced by what they believe is fair. If the news media appeals to the reader’s sense of fairness, that favors the sensibilities of the average reader. If the articles are timed properly and are imbedded with certain characteristics the news media can help determine the outcome of political events. This was demonstrated in the 2008 election. The ratio of favorable to negative for Obama was almost 80% to 10%, while the ratio for McCain was almost the opposite 20% favorable to 70% negatives. The news media invested themselves in the election of Obama and is still invested today in his continuing for 4 more years. If the pendulum swings in the opposite direction there is almost nothing the media can do to survive in its present form. A change of power at the top and consequent revamp of the news media could bode well for the next generation. Only time will tell if yellow journalism and its negative effects will rear its ugly head in the future.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website.