The Impact of Yellow Journalism


Newspapers have always been a significant part of informing the American people about what has been happening in the country. However, when publishers publish false news, sensationalize information, and include heavy use of graphics just to attract attention, yellow journalism occurs. Yellow journalism negatively affects many innocent people.

False news affects people in many negative ways. For example, in the year 1913, William Jay Gaynor was opposed by Joseph Pulitzer, who created false news against Gaynor in his papers because he despised Gaynor. According to Keith Patterson, Gaynor was hit by a bullet during an assasination attempt by someone aggravated by the false news. During the attack, he held the title, Mayor of New York. 

Money has always had a louder voice than the truth. In the political cartoon below, it shows that rich people are feeding the Press money in order to have the news that they want. In the cartoon, the money is being put in by businessmen and politicians which shows that people with money have control and can control the newspapers.

In another instance of yellow journalism in 1898, the New York World newspaper added some fake elements to exaggerate details about the bombing of a US Warship named Maine. These fake details could lead to conspiracy theories or other ideas that may negatively impact investigating authorities. After the bombing in Havana, Cuba (1,309 miles away from New York), the New York Journal offered a $50,000 dollar reward if the criminals behind the bombing were reported, even though no one in New York knew anything about the event. This is yellow journalism because they are using the reward to make more people read the story even though it is clear that none of the targeted audience would know about the criminals behind the event.



According to Keith Patterson, Associate Director at TPS Western Region for the Library of Congress, “yellow journalism still exists today in the forms of clickbait and other things like that.” In modern days, clickbait is the  most used type of yellow journalism. Clickbait is when hyperlink text says one thing and the Webpage’s content is different. It is false advertisement used to attract people to a website. Yellow journalism existed previously as false-news, heavy usage of graphics, etc. and today exists as clickbait, and adding false elements to make things seem more interesting giving people a false impression.