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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vitória pírrica

Alguns liberais americanos parecem estar contentes com a resolução final deste caso. Para mim, só o facto de que se tenha tido de esperar até à deliberação do Supremo Tribunal para encontrar este desfecho é um sinal de que se passa algo de muito errado. Há uns 100 anos atrás, este tipo de histórias, mesmo que inventadas, eram motivo de grande consternação pública - caso contrário, nunca seriam usadas como propaganda de guerra:
Much credit has been given to yellow journalism for its role in influencing public opinion and government policy, which culminated in a declaration of war against Spain in 1898. How large a role these papers played is debatable. For some time Hearst and Pulitzers had turned up the anti-Spanish rhetoric, often ignoring some of the anti-American actions of Cuban nationals. In January 1896, for example, a riot had broken out in Havana by Cuban Spanish loyalists who were also anti-American. They destroyed the printing presses of four local newspapers that had been critical of Spanish Army atrocities. Most famous of the Anti-Spanish yellow journalism was the "Olivette Incident." On February 12,1897, the Journal reported that as the American steamship Olivette was about to leave Havana Harbor for the United States, it was boarded by Spanish police officers who searched three young Cuban women, one of whom was suspected of carrying messages from the rebels. The Journal ran the story with the headline, “Does Our Flag Protect Women?” It was accompanied by a dramatic sketch by Frederic Remington across one half a page showing Spanish plainclothes men searching a nude woman. The Journal went on to editorialize, “War is a dreadful thing, but there are things more dreadful than even war, and one of them is dishonor.”

This report shocked the country and prompted Congressman Amos Cummings to announce intentions to launch a congressional inquiry into the incident. Soon, however, the story unraveled. The World quickly produced one of the young women who contested the Journal’s version of the incident. Eventually the Journal was forced to correct the story. The search had been appropriately conducted by a police matron with no men present. Among the most popular stories often cited as evidence of the meddling influence of Hearst and Pulitzer is the story of Remington's attempt at returning from Cuba because there seemed to be not much going on. As the story goes, when Remington telegraphed to his boss to report that conditions in Cuba were not bad enough to warrant hostilities, Hearst allegedly cabled back , "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."
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