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Muckrakers, Muckraking

The term muckraker is applied to describe journalists and publicists who explore and expose misconduct of public figures and institutions or deplorable social conditions. The word gained prominence in the first decade of the 20th century. President Theodore Roosevelt introduced the term muckraker into public debate, using it in his dedication speech of the House Office Building on April 14, 1906, in Washington, D.C., to attack the scandalmongering reporting of certain journalists and publications. Referring to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678), the president likened the journalists to the “Man with the Muck Rake” who was so occupied with raking the filth off the floor that he did not know when to stop. Although Roosevelt shared some objectives of the progressive reformers, his criticism was ...

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