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Yellow journalism, or the yellow press, is a US term for a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering or sensationalism.
In the 19th century, a prominent writer named Mark Twain made his name through a number of writings as an author and a journalist. More importantly, one may be able to figure out how the 19th century journalism was depicted through the use of his own works. Two significant short stories, "Journalism in Tennessee" and "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper Once" show how yellow journalism was primarily used as a way to gain newspaper sales and to enliven public readers. Yellow journalism can be described as a biased opinion subterfuge under an apparent fact. It seems so, that during Twain's time period was when yellow journalism started to emerge and popularize. Additionally, Mark Twain was particularly critical about the practice of journalism since he uses satire and a hint of dark humor in most of his works.
“I was converted to a no-party independence by the wisdom of a rabid Republican. This was a man who was afterward a United States Senator, and upon whose character rests no blemish that I know of, except that he was the father of the William R. Hearst of to-day, and therefore grandfather of Yellow Journalism–that calamity of calamities.”
"Yellow Journalism" has its roots in the rapid increase in newspaper circulation from the 1880’s to 1900, during which point over a thousand new newspapers companies entered circulation. Back in those days, subscription services did not exist. Like the modern newspapers, the individuals who advertised in their newspapers paid them for the amount of papers sold per day. The newspapers literally survived off of the amount of readers they could generate through their paperboys. As such, each news organization would publish multiple issues a day. In an age without instant information, the newspaper was often the only way the common man heard the news. As such, newspaper readers often numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
As such, competition between major news agencies often became quite heated. The term “Yellow Journalism” refers to the excessive use of sensationalism, capital-letter news articles, and questionable evidence, in an attempt to build reader circulation. Of the most famous practitioners of their era were Randolph Hearst of the "San Francisco Examiner" and "New York Journal" and Joseph Pulitzer’s "New York World." Both of them designed their newspapers to grab as much attention as possible, including crime stories, games, and other tidbits. Their version of the newspaper was constructed far more like a piece of entertainment than an actual newspaper.
Their credibility was called into question years later, when it developed that their news piece about the USS Maine falsely indicted Spain as the culprit, resulting in the Spanish-American War. These questionable practices have now become part of modern news media. Due to the countless ways news can be disseminated, and the massive variety of alternative media sources, both traditional and new media have adapted various methodologies of "yellow journalism." The first is the increasing validity of opinion without evidence, especially on twitter or other mass media platforms.
"There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to villify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an "Independent Press"! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."
originally posted by: Thorneblood
a reply to: murphy22
To help further your own education...
- Mark Twain
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Enjoy patting yourselves on the back guys, but an anecdote about racism from a time where racism was rife and the standards of journalism were at best non-existent does very little to convince me OP's post is anything but a cool story.
Offering insults instead of evidence to support your beliefs is usually a sign that your argument itself lacks any real merit.
Making comparisons between Yellow Journalism and modern media might have made for a more intelligent debate but what would I know.
A news correspondent in San Francisco witnessed some hoods chasing an elderly Asian man in the street. The Asian man was carrying a load of laundry for his customers to the laundry. The hoods threw rocks at him and then beat him. While all this was happening a policeman stood by and did nothing. He did nothing to stop the attack, he did not interfere.
originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: intrptr
It should come as no surprise. The handwriting was on the wall, even in 1864 when Twain wrote of this event for the SF Morning Call. Even his editor, Mr. Barnes, saw it, calling it a 'prejudice'. None the less, profit trumped truth and political correctness trumped justice.
Nothing has changed.
originally posted by: dragonridr
I see what your getting at but comparing 1860s to today just doesnt work.
Journalists have changed even racism has changed.
Chinese are no longer beaten and forced into indentured servants. What this does show is racism will always be around
originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
I have a story to tell you about a "shock jock" called Andrew Bolt-the Aussie Alex Jones.
He was the butt of many jokes on the ABC for his constant contradictions and inaccuracies and right wing views. He blames the left for all this and calls for the government to cut the funding to the broadcaster but guess what...the current government is right wing! the broadcaster has a media watchdog that has caught him and his colleagues out, there is an open forum with both left and right politicians with a partisan audience, yet he throws a temper tantrum when he is proven wrong.
My theory is that fewer advertisements lead to a better truth.