Ahhh! Sweet sugar.
With those Cuba Spaniards gone, their sweet sugar profits would be alllll ours. 🙂
So, what did we do?
We cooked up a big bowl of victim soup to pour across news wires around the world.
Pre-invasion media prep!
We cried and raged stories about our blown up soldiers on the USS Maine. We threw pie charts in the world’s face depicting our invested sugar millions that would be lost to Spain if we didn’t step in. We created horror stories about how those Spanish colonists in Cuba were torturing and killing poor Cubans.
Of course, we didn’t give a damn about those racially-integrating Cubans who posed a too-close-for-comfort threat to our White supremacy. ‘Poor Cubans‘ was just the guild on our image to coat the tarnish of truth.
That factions of our government/wealthy, powerful business interests saw millions in invested sugar profits to be lost, and billions to be gained by snatching Cuba from Spain’s clutches. And in the process, we could put a stop to the racial integration occurring so threateningly close to our shore.
With a pre-war media blitzkrieg, we succeeded fantastically in inflaming American patriotism into a national mania, while spoon-feeding acceptable justification to the rest of the world for our war against Spain.
Wait…where have I heard this story before?
I lived it.
Except the USS Maine was the Twin Towers, the “poor Cubans” were “poor Iraqis,” and the sugar was oil.
(cue Twilight Zone music) 😯
To get our war against Spain going, while keeping the guild on our image, two of our wealthiest, most powerful & competitive media moguls – William Randolph Hearst & Joseph Pulitzer – began their own war.
With each other.
And both these legacy rich boys utilized every trick in the book to win.
They used their newspapers, movie newsreels, and radio to flood our own and international news wires with defacing stories about Spain. They outdid each other with blood-and-gore stories about barbaric Spanish colonists torturing poor Cubans.
And they gushed patriotic hyperbole about our benevolent American government ready to ride in on our white horse to save those poor brown Cubans.
The most violently racist government of its time…
…suddenly deeply concerned about how brown Cubans and black Africans were being treated.
So worried for the safety of brown people, that, from within our fiercely racist, color-segregated nation…
…we felt compelled by a patriotic sense of democracy to dash in, and save brown Cubans and black Africans from white Spanish terrorists.
(increase volume/Twilight Zone music)
The scariest part of this story is that Americans believed our save-the-poor-brown-people hype, and rallied in support of a manufactured war.
When the artist Wm. Randolph Hearst sent to Cuba to illustrate the situation there told Hearst that his newspaper’s sensational horror stories were greatly exaggerated or simply not true, what do you think Hearst said, dear diary?
“You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war!”
Victor said this is a famous quote. There are tons of famous history quotes I learned in school, but I never heard this one. Just like everything else in Victor’s history lesson that never made it to our history books.
Victor said Hearst & Pulitzer saturated our media with relentless headlines shouting, “Remember the Maine! To Hell With Spain!” until it became a patriotic war cry.
Needless to say, Americans – as we repeatedly prove we are wont to do – swallowed our media’s manufactured hype, and developed a scary hatred for all things Spanish.
I wonder if Spaniardophobia bled across our country back then the way Islamophobia is doing right now…?
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“Diary of An American Girl’s Journeys to the Forbidden Land”