Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Where Have all the Muckrakers Gone???

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where Have all the Muckrakers Gone???

In Walter Lippmann's "The Themes of Muckraking" he explained the goal of muckraking and why it greatly applied to the industrial issues of the early 20th century.

"There is no other way of explaining the quick approval which the muckrakers won. They weren't voices crying in a wilderness, or lonely prophets who were stoned. They demanded a hearing; it was granted. They asked for belief; they were believed. They cried that something should be done and there was every appearance of action. There must have been real causes for dissatisfaction, or the land notorious for its worship of success would not have turned so savagely upon those who had achieved it....For muckraking flared up at time when land was no longer freely available and large scale industry had begun to throw vast questions across the horizon. It came when success had ceased to be easily possible for everyone."

I 110% agree with Lippman on the power of muckraking and why it greatly applied to the early 20th century. My concern is what happened to the brave crusading journalists who were willing to risk everything in order to expose the corruption that these money hungry business men were implementing on working class America? Lippmann stated how that muckraking became extremely accepted at a time when "land was no longer freely available and large scale industry had begun to throw vast questions across the horizon." Well I don't know if today's journalists have noticed but people are losing their jobs, homes, and self-esteem right now, while bankers on Wall Street are receiving $100,000 bonuses and many conservatives are attacking President Obama for wanting to decrease their yearly salaries to $500,000 a year. Where is the equality in that, and why isn't anybody exposing who is behind this?

I feel like we are reliving the early 20th century all over again. What helped make change during that time could certainly help now. If we had more journalists devoted to helping the working class citizens of America I think it would of been a lot harder for those bankers to have received those bonuses. The passion the crusading journalists had in the early 20th century has been swallowed up by big businesses owning the companies our journalists work for and not allowing them to speak out on the corruption behind the person' stamped signature on thier paycheck.

Look at the power of the media. All it takes is one article, or news brief , or interview on Oprah to grab the attention of millions. Americans will listen, because we want to know how we got to the bottom of the pit we're in . It just takes someone with the proper resources to get that information out to the public. That is what we need right now. We need journalists, and news stations, and reporters who have a passion, like the crusading journalists of the early 20th century, to better the struggling working class Americans of the early 21st century.

Ida B. Wells, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker WHERE ARE YOU??? Or atleast the journalists like you.....for you are greatly missed.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A great post.

You are right, we need investigative reporting more than ever to expose the corruptions of economic and political system.

But perhaps the problem is not the absence of great investigative reporters. I think there are a lot of great reporters at work today. You can find great investigative reporting about the current crisis.

One problem is that news budgets are being slashed and reporters are being fired. Investigative reporting is expensive and not very profitable.

A second problem is that there is not a mass audience for hard hitting, serious investigative reporting. --No market, no product.

2/11/2009 9:59 PM  

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