When students hear the term “yellow journalism,” the first thought that comes to mind is the sensationalized coverage of the 1895 Spanish American War. However, this practice is neither confined to that time period, nor is it extinct. On the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Americans relive the horror of that fateful day. Most of us were not actually in Washington, D.C. or New York City when it happened. We experienced it through the eye of the camera lens, watching it all unfold as we stared in disbelief at our television screens.
This horrific tragedy, like any event, was a prime target for exploitation. Within a matter of days, the footage of planes flying into buildings was accompanied by Islamic extremists brandishing weapons and burning American flags. The terms terrorism and Islam became synonymous. A new wave of patriotism and war cries swept over the country.
Fast forward a few years later, after the war in Afghanistan had been waged, there was a new target on the map. The Bush Administration, with the help of media outlets, made a connection between September 11th, the war on terrorism, and Iraq. The majority of the American public was swiftly, easily tricked into this war by not only a self-motivated administration, but a manipulative media.
Still think yellow journalism is a thing of the past? Think again.