Yellow Journalism: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

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1964 was a very turbulent year for America; the people were still mourning the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the war in Vietnam, the cold war, race riots, boycotts, the civil rights movement, thermo-nuclear testing, political divisions, violent imagery was increasing on TV and film, a growing drug culture was becoming apparent, and crime rates were rising rapidly (www.historyorb.com). New York City had over 600 murders in 1964 alone (Lemann), and the residents were awash with fear. Yet during this horrendous time in our history, one reporter wrote an article specifically designed to spark moral outrage from the citizens of New York and the world. Martin Gansberg of the New York Times focuses on thirty-eight frightened residents of a middle class neighborhood in Queens, New York and blatantly accused them of indifference while witnessing the brutal attacks on Kitty Genovese, which ultimately led to her death. He used yellow journalism tactics, a term meaning to sensationalize a story with the express goal of selling newspapers, (oxforddictionaries.com) to carefully craft his version of the truth so it would fit this accusation; leaving out important details and falsifying others, he paints a partially accurate (but mostly inaccurate) picture, endangering the prosecution’s murder case against Winston Moseley. Inaccuracies abound in Gansberg’s account of how the crime took place, but only much later were they discovered. “…law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks (Gansberg)…” According to Nicholas Lemann of the New Yorker magazine, “there were two attacks, not three.” Gansberg also stated that “not one person telephoned the police during the assault.” However, Lemann uncove... ... middle of paper ... ...vior, yet it is all too common these days. Before believing everything you read or see on the news, check multiple sources. With so much information at our fingertips, I see no reason why we would just believe everything we are told, taking the news at face value. Works Cited Gansberg, Martin. “Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. 12th ed. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Bedford, 2012. 240-3. Print. "Historical Events for the Year 1964." HistoryOrb.com n.d. Web. 06 May. 2014. LeMann, Nicholas. “A Call for Help: What the Kitty Genevose Story Really Means.” The New Yorker (2014): Pages. 05/06/2014 "Yellow Journalism." OxfordDictionaries.com. 2014 Oxford University Press. Web. 6 May 2014.

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