An article published in the New York Times during the Monica Lewinsky scandal looks at the role of yellow journalism in igniting the Spanish American War.
“Today, bad journalism is often called 'tabloid journalism,' but at the turn of the century it was ‘yellow journalism,’ a phrase inspired by the ‘Yellow Kid,' urchin star of color cartoons by the coveted R.F. Outcault (he worked for both Pulitzer and Hearst) and vivid symbol of the intense newspaper competition of the day. Yellow journalism reached its peak, or nadir, exactly 100 years ago today with the sensationalistic reporting of the sinking of the American battleship Maine in Havana harbor on Feb. 15, 1898. That and all the other egregious reporting leading up to the Spanish-American War might have been considered merely cartoonish if it hadn't led to a major international conflict.”