Muckraking

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  • The name given to the American investigative journalists who exposed the social injustices and political scandals of the early 20th century. Some of the most notable muckrakers included Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle (1906), which uncovered abuses in the meatpacking industry, and Lincoln Steffens, who authored The Shame of the Cities (1904), which was composed of a series of articles printed in McClure's magazine between 1902 and 1903 detailing fraud and corruption in America's largest cities. The term muckrakers was first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in a 1906 speech to describe sensationalist-seeking journalists who were tarnishing the reputation of “honest men.” The name is based on a character, the Man with Muckrake, in John Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress (1678). For further reading, see Bunyan ...

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