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This article seems hugely incomplete and to start a good time after the primary relevance of the topic. see

Include James O'Keefe[edit]

Acorn Investigation, New Jersey Teachers Union and more

Youave to be kidding. Calicocat (talk) 03:03, 19 September 2011 (UTC)

I'm afraid the poster was not kidding. That's what delusions "true believers" can maintain. (Redacted) Activist (talk) 08:44, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Include Safran Foer?[edit]

Should Jonathan Safran Foer be included in the contemporary muckraker list? He recently wrote a book (Eating Animals) in which he extensively criticizes the bio-industry in the US. In the sense that he's seeking to expose the poor conditions for animals in the industry and the risks involved for consumers, one could argue he's trying to expose the way this big business is really working. There may be no fraud, but there is certainly a very big problem, and he's arguing against it. This could be considered an attack on a big institution (the bio-industry). Would this pass for muckracking? Jhmommers (talk) 17:28, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Michael Moore[edit]

Could Noam Chomsky be considered a muckracker? - sandiego4

Michael Moore didn't make it onto the combined list. Is this deliberate? --KF 17:25 13 Jun 2003 (UTC)

As the article states Muckrakers "serve the public interest" but unlike the Man with the Muckrake, from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, the text quotes President Roosevelt warning muckrakers to pursue their claims, "...with merciless severity makes such attack, provided always that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful."

Hopefully this clears up any lingering confusion as to the "deliberate" failure to draw any parallels between Michael Moore's work and that of a Muckraker.

(from another user).... hmmm, god forbid somebody puts out a "biased" documentary. and please, enough with the "mask his true agenda" stuff, the dude might be misguided but hes not out to kill you.
Wow - that long and unsigned diatribe really was SO helpful in explaining why MM is not a muckracker...NOT! Plently of other Muckrackers accepted praise and financial reward from those who agreed with their desire to expose that which they felt was unjust. Upton Sinclair's profits from The Jungle essentially financed his future works. I would welcome a more reasonable wikipedian to wigh in on this issue and tell us why Michael Moore is or isn't a muckracker. Just leave your POV at the door thank you.Lisapollison 19:37, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm with you on that. MM belongs. Why can't he be added?

As a teacher in a public school . . . in Michigan . . . Michael Moore was a journalist with a small Flint paper, called the Flint Voice which later became the Michigan Voice, he also went to work for Mother Jones. One could look at his early work to determine if he is 1) a journalist, and 2) if he fits the defination of a Muckraker. Personally, I don't see him as a crazy Socialist zealot, franky he makes a lot of money, has a nice place in Traverse City and doesn't live the life of a somebody trying to take away the American dream of earning $. Is he trying to expose coruption, un-ethical behavior of corporate America or our government by using film or TV? I'd say yes, which frankly puts him in the camp of a a Muckraker. Frankly, Jesus should be listed as a Muckraker too, afterall he tried to show people the corruption of greed, materialism, government officals and some people in the business class, so Michael Moore is in good company and I'd give him a thumbs up vote for Muckraker. But what do I know, I'm just an American History teacher. -Thinking Late-

MM belongs on the list for the very reason that he is the quintessential 21st century muckraker (truth-challenged and all). And for that same reason Drudge does not belong here. I'll try to dig up my old notes on this from J-school and add some sources. I actually studied it for a semester. Stop the revisionism. This is ridiculous.Konastephen (talk) 21:17, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Expansion of Article[edit]

Drudge's inclusion seems debateable. But I don't know enough about him to argue well. Maurreen 08:55, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Agree. Drudge is a polemicist. Though he runs a news aggregation site, he doesn't do any real investigative journalism of his own. Not that it makes what he does any more or any less important. It just means he doesn't really fit the definition here. He doesn't rake the muck, he lets people know that other people raked it. Izuko (talk) 22:33, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
Drudge is a polemicist? How so? Just because he scooped a huge story that turned out to be a highly inconvenient truth to the progressives in power at the time? Tell us exactly how his "news aggregation" is any different than what the desk editors at any major media outlet do and how that relegates Drudge to the status of non-journalist.Konastephen (talk) 22:05, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

This sentence in the opening paragraph, "The rise of muckraking corresponded with that of Progressivism and the two were correlated, but not intrinsically tied," strikes me as a bit POV. Some of the muckrakers might have been progressive, others considered themselves conservative. Calicocat 21:14, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Sentence changed to read: "The rise of muckraking in the late 19th and early 20th centuries corresponded with the advent of Progressivism yet, while temporally correlated, the two are not intrinsically tied." Calicocat 03:44, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think the article demonstrates a mischaracterization of what Roosevelt said and is not substantiated by the actual quote. The sentences I find fault with are: "President Theodore Roosevelt coined the term 'muckraker' during a speech in 1906 when he criticized the writings of some journalists as being excessive and irresponsible. He disliked the attitude and lack of optimism of muckraking's practitioners." This seems inaccurate and POVish. In reading the excerpt, which I located, I don't see where he says the muck raking journalists are "irresponsbile and excessive" or even that they lack optimism. This paragraph seems to show that the writer has misunderstood what Roosevelt actually said. Calicocat 03:44, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

My major reworking of this article -- reordering famous and contemporary muckrakers, fact-checking and locating exact source of Roosevelt quote, addressing concerns to bring entry to meet NPOV standard, adding external links of relevancy etc. -- has been most instructive to me and I hope of benefit to the project. I think the article is much better than it was when I found it and hope others will benefit from it. Calicocat 04:59, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)

This article defintely lacks a more profound history of the Muckraking era. There is no discussion as to what made the muckraking era wane after 1915. Also, there is a definitive correlation between Progressivism and muckraking, and any student of journalism (like myself) will learn this in a history of mass media class. This article defintely lacks a more profound history of the Muckraking era. There is no discussion as to what made the muckraking era wane after 1915. Also, there is a definitive correlation between Progressivism and muckraking, and any student of journalism (like myself) will learn this in a history of mass media class.Syberexile 1:55, 10 May, 2005 (UTC)

What do you mean by "more profound history?" Can you fill in some examples or sources. Maybe you might expand the article with a section on the decline of the muckrakers with sources...McClure's went out of business and so on. Also there could be more on the legislation passed or a deeper examination of the works of the early muck rakers. I can see several ways this article might be expanded. Let's discuss it. Calicocat
sections on activists exposing 19th century slave treatment, Native American abuse, child labor, various women's rights issues (domestic violence, abortions, divorce etc) would also be good additions. WBardwin 18:19, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

better intro needed[edit]

The introduction to the article should be clarified -- it needs to answer the question "What is Muckraker?" before going into any details. --Yurik 19:48, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

I just want to be on record that imho this intro is too POV. "Muckraking" has been a controversial practice in journalism. At the very very least it should be noted that there are other less dewy-eyed views of the term (let alone the practice). Here's a citation that ought to be plugged in somewhere. Kelter, Diana (25 February 2009). "Muckraking:The good and the bad". 

I particularly object to the immediate association of muckraking with truthfulness in the opening sentence. That does disservice to all the journalists throughout the centuries who have held themselves to higher standards than the Progressivist muckrakers of Roosevelt's time. As I recall, muckraking is more connected to sensationalism and shock-value than truthfulness. Konastephen (talk) 21:07, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

American "muckrakers" have held to a high standard of factual accuracy, in the U.K. the term is sometimes used to indicate sensationalism. However, the primary focus of this article is about those writers and reporters in the United States, such as Ida Tarbel and so on. Calicocat (talk) 04:02, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Consistent list style[edit]

I noticed that the lists in the "Early muckrakers" and "Contemporary muckrakers" have no consistent style between the name and description — sometimes there is a hyphen, sometimes a double hyphen, sometimes a comma, and sometimes nothing at all. It would probably be a good idea to convert them all to a common style, so they look neat and tidy. Thoughts? -Wayne Miller 22:44, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

I had the list in this order, the early muckrakers were in ordered by date of death; the contemporary muckrakers were in alphabetical order. Other editors messed around with it and now it's all kind of a mess. Calicocat 06:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

I've gone ahead and applied a consistent style to the entries and re-ordered the list of early muckrakers. Some of the early muckrakers look pretty late to me, but I'll leave that for someone else to fix. --Wayne Miller 19:06, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

It Should Be Mentioned[edit]

that TR slammed this movement with his speech. He didn't really support these guys at all. He equated them with doing just as much harm than the guys they attacked as he whole speech shows. Taking out ditbits to prove a point it a little POV YankeeRoman( 16:58, 4 January 2007 (UTC))

-TR didn't "slam" them as I read it. Calicocat 06:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

-No, Calicocat, YankeeRoman is right. I just read the entire speech. The snippet in the article is taken out of context. In fact, before AND after that portion of the speech, he talks down about what the contemporary muckrakers of his time were doing. At one point he says that some of them should be put in a penitentiary. If that isn't slamming, I don't know what is. CONTEXT is important in this one. Nicklink483 (talk) 10:14, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Muckraker or Muckraking[edit]

This article should probably be moved moved to Muckraking. That would put the emphasis on the practice rather than on the individuals engaged in the practice. It would also avoid the difficulty arising from the somewhat more pejorative interpretation given to the word "muckraker" in British usage. Also, if one reads the entire Theodore Roosevelt speech one sees that he speaks of "the man with the muck rake" and even once of "raking the muck", but never does he use the word "muckraker". A person who engages in muckraking is not necessarily an unremitting muckraker, but often engages in other kinds of writing.

I also have some concerns about the listing of modern muckrakers, but that is a different question. Eclecticology 03:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that focus on the practice would be better knowledge management. Of course our unquenchable ideological divide will continue to act as a watershed in terms of who falls where. For some the term muckraker (like the term progressive) will never be more than a dismissive pejorative epithet. For others it's a badge of honor like the red star on the crowns of their revolution-retro Kurtz caps. The best that could be done here is to fully and fairly elucidate all angles of that reality in conjunction with this concept. I think that would be better done under the rubric of the practice. A≠non-A (talk) 22:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)


Don't think this phrase belongs in this article:

"Although the term muckraking might appear to have Stolen Babies from the villages of the east, and from spartan warriors who said "WHOOOOHAH" All the time," —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:27, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

This article needs some vandalism cleaned up, I'm just not the one to do it. Here's the problem:

"An example of a contemporary muckraker work is Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) and one of the more unknown from the early period is Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, (1906) which, respectively, led to yee-haw!'s automotive manufacturing and meat packing in the United States." [Emphasis added]

The Jungle is a classic book, and the farthest thing from an "unknown."

Also, "yee-haw!" has no place in this article, but I'm not sure what was originally there. I'm not sure how to repair all the damage in this sentence.

Pigactor (talk) 21:29, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

There's a ton of vandalism throughout this talk page. If I had more WP-powers I would camp on this article and this talk page until it's reliably legit. For now, someone ought to flag the snot out of this thing. POV for starters. Vandalism. And the issue of whether or not it ought to be a sub-section of a better-written article on the practice of muckraking. Is there any way to ensure that lefty student activists with their freshly-washed brains and their brand new little grind-axes can't sign on after the bars around campus close? A≠non-A (talk) 22:47, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Al Gore's place on list questionable.[edit]

As listed in the article itself, muckraker is defined as "an individual who seeks to expose or reveal the real or apparent corruption of public officials or business to the public". To this point, as Al Gore is not pointing out anything to do with "public officials", he doesn't really belong. Also, as he is only pointing out his opinion on "global warming" and "climate change" and not actual "corruption" his mission doesn't fit. He is only opening up the debate.

It would be more in line to include Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck as muckrakers, as they do dig into the "apparent corruption of public officials". I hope the fact that one is an independant and the other is a conservative and both lean right doesn't disqualify them. (talk) 01:28, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Every single dumbass in the list of modern day muck rackers is uncited and retarded as hell. Andrew Breitbart? Are you fcking kidding me? He's a shithead —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:02, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

If Breitbart is a shithead, then all hail shitheads! He took down ACORN. So muck off. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joeypanto (talkcontribs) 19:31, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

As for the issue of O'Reilly or Beck, the issue is that their truthfulness is debatable. I think Beck gets it mostly right, most of the time, but that's not consensus. Muckrakers from time past are easier to confirm with the spotlight of history being able to verify their claims. In short, we haven't had enough time to determine whether O'Reilly and Beck belong in a category with the muckrakers, or with Michael Moore. Actually, from that perspective, the modern muckraker section might ought to be removed for anyone who's been in the practice in the past ten years. Izuko (talk) 22:40, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
See now I would have said that we have had time to know that the Fox folks belong in a new 21st century class of truth-focused journalists and not with Michael Moore, the three big networks, the NYT and the rest of the obsolete muckraker holdovers from the 20th century. So I suppose that having said that, I ought to brace myself for a stream of pseudo-eloquent expletives. A≠non-A (talk) 22:36, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Contemporary muckrakers list OR?[edit]

The Contemporary muckrakers list strikes me as OR By what criteria do we establish that someone is a muckraker? Do we have a reliable source that says that these people are muckrackers? If so, lets see it. Bonewah (talk) 14:22, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I definitely agree that reliable sources are needed for such a section. As it is, I think a majority of the article requires a re-write to provide not only a suitable historical background but contemporary influences. Perhaps this should be a future project/collaboration. María (habla conmigo) 16:52, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
While any article can be improved with more references and so on, the writers mentioned herein also have articles and those articles list their works, many of the works also have articles. Links are given to the writers and their major works. These links to other articles about the writers and links to their works seem sufficient to me, but, of course, any article can be improved. This article has suffered from systemic vandalism in the past and so, before making bold edits, please discuss them here first so that consensus can be achieved. Calicocat (talk) 03:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The issue with using other Wikipedia articles for references, of course, is original research by synthesis. It also goes against WP:V, WP:RS, etc. There are several books dedicated to "Modern Muckrakers" and contemporary investigative journalism, so finding reliable sources to flesh out such a section would certainly not be difficult. The problem I see with such a section in its current format is the fact that it's a catch-all for anyone's idea of a muckraker. This article truly needs to be stripped and rewritten, with an emphasis on the historical -- since that's where the essence of a muckraker truly lies. Were I to completely rewrite the article from scratch (which I am seriously considering), I'll be sure to post updates to the talk page. :) María (habla conmigo) 12:16, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd suggest you do it in your sandbox and then work to build some consensus on it. I tend to agree regarding the catch-all nature of the contemporary muckrakers section and have had to remove several names that people just slam in without good cause. As I mentioned before, this article has been subjected to systemic vandalism and I have twice had to pull it back to something more valid with sources and examples. Let's hope we're not going to see that happen again. Calicocat (talk) 00:38, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I tend to not work with sandboxes, although of course that's a valid suggestion. I've had the article watched for several days now, and I must say that from the look of the talk page and article history, it doesn't seem to attract too much in the way vandalism or edit warring; it is stable and there are seemingly no disputes, other than the crufty lists of muckraking participants that seem to attract flies. I've seen much worse. Anyway, I won't be getting my hands dirty anytime soon, but as you can see from what I added earlier today, there are numerous works to pull from to create a far more encyclopedic article. Such an important subject matter really deserves better coverage. María (habla conmigo) 00:51, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, however you like to work is fine. I'm always glad to have good editor involved in any article; I'm sure your attention and contributions will be useful.Calicocat (talk) 05:21, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm in agreement that the contemporary list is OR but it has to do with the real influence of the original muckrakers beyond their era. In most of the contemparary individual instances, I think anybody would have a hard time verifying the assertion of a direct influence. Overall, I think the article needs tweakd. Muckraking refers both to an era of journalism -- one that occurred during the Progressive Period in the United States -- and the use of investigative journalism to improve conditions. I would propose a new section for all of those who have been influenced by the muckrakers in later years and continue to use investigative reporting techniques to affect change in that tradition. Tightening of the definition would lead to changes in the introduction. Of course, there will be some overlap with investigative journalists and alternative journalists. I'm interested in a reaction about this proposal. Dobry 08:40, 1 May 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by DobryDamour (talkcontribs)

I think it's a bit odd that Woodward and Bernstein are listed together, like a pair of Siamese twins.

Of course, both became famous for the exposure of the Watergate affair, working together. The relationship became more frayed as time wore on and Bernstein became less productive and his behavior more problematic. Woodward, however, turned into a suckup.

There's a good quote that I serendipitiously ran across in WikiQuotes, a moment ago:

"The job of the writer is to kiss no ass, no matter how big and holy and white and tempting and powerful."

Ken Kesey

That might be helpful in sorting out who is, and who is not, a "muckraker" in the non-pejorative sense.

Breitbart? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha... Activist (talk) 23:43, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

I would like to make a suggestion that would not resolve the existence of different points of view on this topic, but might help readers:

Why don't we insert a short, explanatory paragraph, right underneath the headline "Contemporary Muckrakers", in which we briefly sum up a couple of the issues raised here and in other sections of the talk page. Such as: is the term "muckraker" fitting for non-journalists?; is ist fitting for jounalists who are working some 100 years after the term was coined?; what are the criteria for someone to make the list?; etc. Just so that readers will not gobble up that list without thinking or judging for themselves, or throwing in one of this lot with one of the early muckrakers without pause for thought. -- Otto von B (talk) 00:07, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Would Wikileaks be considered a Muckraker?[edit]

Would Wikileaks be considered a Muckraker? (talk) 05:57, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't think Wikileaks is an example of a Muckraker per se. The site has published some important documents but since they have not engaged in reporting or writing as such, I don't think they are appropriately characterized as such, but it's an interesting question. Calicocat (talk) 04:02, 4 November 2010 (UTC)
On November 25, 2010 CNN referred to Wikileaks as a Muckraker: "The threat of publication of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables by a muckraker website has prompted a massive review of documents at U.S. embassies around the world, a U.S. official says." ChrisBrown (talk) 18:13, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Lack of Focus[edit]

If one looks at all of the headings and comments here, then the general theme and the problem with this article becomes apparent. Editors are more concerned with contemporaries who have been influenced by the muckraker tradition. The problem is that muckraking is an era of journalism tied to the first 20 years of the 20th century. Its adherents used in-depth reporting and investigative techniques. They also, in the spirit of the time, believed that they could improve conditions of modern society. What is problematic? Their later influence on reporters and those who are not necessarily journalists was real. The problem is that the attention to those who came afterward detracts from the main topic of the article. A refocused article may still have to address their later influence. Is there a way to revise this in a collective spirit that would not be disruptive but would account for one of major reasons why so many people are interested in the original muckrakers. The article is about them. Isn't it? (I stated some of these point below under "OR"/"original research by synthesis," but focus is also a big picture problem with this particular article.) It goes back to the definition of muckraking and how strict or loose one uses the term. Right now it's so loose that it lumps journalists, non-journalists, alternative journalists, bloggers, an investigative reporters into one big grab bag that is essentially useless. Dobry 18:52, 1 May 2011 (UTC) comment added by DobryDamour (talkcontribs)

Conservative Muckrakers COMPLETELY ignored in this article[edit]

This article was edited by leftists exclusively. Conservative commentators who have skewered faulty distortions of "progressive" American values are also muckrakers because they attack the egalitarian and anti-capitalist assumptions of progressives in power. They need not be journalists to be a muckraker, just well-published in periodicals and topical. Here's a brief list: 1. H. L. Mencken 2. Ayn Rand 3. W. F. Buckley 4. Robert Welch 5. Phyllis Schlafly 6. Pat Buchanan 7. Robert Novak 8. William Safire 9. Thomas Sowell 10. Rush Limbaugh 1

Those listed right here are largely an example of yellow journalism. To qualify as Yellow, rather than Muckracking, five general points which can be used to determine this:

  1. scare headlines in huge print, often of minor news
  2. lavish use of pictures, or imaginary drawings
  3. use of faked interviews, misleading headlines, pseudoscience, and a parade of false learning from so-called experts
  4. emphasis on full-color Sunday supplements, usually with comic strips
  5. dramatic sympathy with the "underdog" against the system.

Off the top of my head, most listed have been frequently guilty of one or more of these. Investigative journalism can indeed be done by those with diverse viewpoints, but for the most part due to our dominant economic system, I can understand why most would be left-leaning in some way. Because the forces in power, at least in the US, have always been to the right. AndrewRayGorman (talk) 23:50, 22 July 2012 (UTC)


I would like to do a major edit on this article to completely strip away any modern as "muckraker" is a textbook journalist from the first decades of the 20th century. My proposal is that if someone feels strongly about a journalist from the present eera who has been influenced by the early muckrakers, then they find a reference that says the person was influenced by those journalists and then edit that journalist's page and put a link to the Muckrakers. Every discussion of a journalist after the 1930s ruins the focus of the article. My proposal is to tighten the definition to the era, professional journalists, and delete ALL references to journalists after 1930. Can I get some feedback first? --Dobry 17:57, 9 May 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by DobryDamour (talkcontribs)

While I agree that the article desperately needs an overhaul (a year ago I made similar comments in an above thread), I don't think it possible to completely strip away all contemporary mentions of muckrakers/muckraking. A quick glance at WorldCat shows that there are several books that refer to mid and/or late 20th century authors as "muckrakers". Perhaps a "Legacy" section would suit this article better than the largely unsourced "Contemporary muckrakers" list. If you do plan on overhauling the article,keep in mind that reliable sources need to be utilized per WP:RS and WP:V. If you need help in this department, let me know. María (habla conmigo) 18:20, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Yllosubmarine! I don't doubt that there are references to modern muckrakers in WorldCat. The problem is that there are two uses of the term. One use is the specific term used to define an era of journalism. The other use is a more general expression that covers those journalists or even non-journalists who investigate for real change and were inspired by the original muckrakers. Any textbook in journalism or mass communication (e.g., the classic Emery & Emery) refers to Muckrakers by the more specific meaning. I think Wikipedia loses some credibility by not being precise. Btw, I'm new to Wikipedia and I'm confused about whether I should use the sandbox or just make the change. What do you suggest? -- DobryDamour (talk —Preceding undated comment added 04:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC).
Sandbox edits are not required, although if you would like input from other editors before those changes go "live", you could certainly create a sandbox to write a mock-up of what you envision for the article. I see several issues with your proposed structure. Although I certainly agree with your overall point (this article sucks), the word "muckraker", which is the title of this article, it is such that it doesn't make a distinction between its historical definition and what it means for writers/journalists of the mid- to late-20th century. A distinction can be made in various headings and subheadings within the article itself, but the latter definition cannot be entirely ignored. This article isn't titled Muckrakers (early 19th century). As this talk page shows, users and editors who stumble upon this page of course see muckraking's implications in today's media, and the sources show that the term has evolved and grown to incorporate authors other than those who made the term famous in the 1910s and 20s. To erase this modern definition would be to ignore a large part of what muckraking has become, which would create an article just as imbalanced as if it were to only discuss Rachel Carson, Glenn Beck, and others. Our goal here is to create a balanced and comprehensive article. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Also, remember to sign your name with four tildes (~~~~), not three. :) María (habla conmigo) 12:39, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Yllosubmarine, you're making some very good points. As I see it, you are saying you would rather be descriptive rather than proscriptive. What requirements would you suggest in order for a journalist (/non-journalist?) to be included as a contemporary? That's the key question people (see above) are asking. (I used 4 tildes this time! Hope it works) -- Dobry 16:18, 12 May 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by DobryDamour (talkcontribs)
It all comes down to what reliable, third-party sources say. It's not enough for some reason person on a talk page (including me!) to say that so-and-so reporter/journalist is a modern-day muckraker, it has to be substantiated. Quite a bit of research needs to be done with this topic, so the contemporary/legacy section(s) may only a small part of the whole picture, of course. My main point, however, is that it cannot be ignored completely because sources re: contemporary examples do exist, from what I've seen with a quick, preliminary search. María (habla conmigo) 16:41, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Include Louis D. Brandeis?[edit]

I think Brandeis schould definitely make the list, especially for his 1914 book "Other People's Money And How the Bankers Use It".

Check here for details:

If no-one is objecting, I will insert him into the article one day. -- Otto von B (talk) 00:15, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

added him now Otto von B (talk) 01:07, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Jack Anderson / Drew Pearson[edit]

Why is Jack Anderson not listed as a muckracker in this article? One of the people who is listed is noted as having won the Jack Anderson award for investigative journalism. Kind of is a hint there? I grew up reading Anderson's column in the newspaper. His mentor, Drew Pearson, is also not listed. These two guys were the attack dogs of the 50s-70s. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wjrust (talkcontribs) 14:34, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Agree completely. The list of contemporary muckrackers is also very much POV. Plus, that school teacher in the is probably the first to go. if it's on anyone's watchlist, lets huddle. If not, than in a week or two I'll try to clean things up call for help. (talk) 06:14, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Same Person, will start to clean this mess slowly. First goes the school teacher.

These are the people I deleted and the reason for it:

  • Noam Chomsky- a philosopher and a linguistic researcher and even an activist, but not much of a muckracker. Not everyone with an opinion is a muckracker.
  • Hunter S Thompson- Gonzo is not muckracking.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski - more a man with an opinion than an investigative journalist.
  • Savannah Corralez- the school teacher.

Now- based on the people who are there: These are names that I'll add:

  • Andrew Breitbart- Unraveled ACORN fraud and irregularities.
  • Drew Pearson- The original modern Muckracker.
  • Jack Anderson - An investigative journalist who continued pearson's column, and revealed american involvement in the plots to kill fidel castro.

obviously, under this wide net, a lot more people could be categorized as muckrackers, so more needs to be done on this list. but that's me for now. Drorzm (talk) 20:23, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

Presidential Press Conferences[edit]

I am pretty sure that Woodrow Wilson in 1913, not Roosevelt, was the first president to routinely hold press conferences. See John Milton Cooper, Jr., Woodrow Wilson, (Knopf, 2009), 201-2. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Remove list of muckrakers?[edit]

At this point, especially the modern list, most of it is unreferenced, subjective, and pretty partisan. We've seen it come up a few times about this in the past with no action, and I'm not sure why a list that will never be complete is encyclopedic. Should we just remove those lists? Thargor Orlando (talk) 15:50, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I would not support just removing the lists. There are plenty of good lists in Wikipedia that can never be complete... the inability to make something 100% here is not grounds for exclusion and does not make it not "encyclopedic". But I would tend to agree with you, in this way: simply being muckraker-like should not be enough for inclusion if a person actually IS a muckraker, and truly deserves to be mentioned in a list of muckrakers, there should be at least one good categorizing that person in that way. Perhaps tagging the sections in question as needing sources would be the first step. Marteau (talk) 02:33, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
The two sections which I addressed have been tagged for three years without editorial action, save for my own and Capitalismojo's massive recent deletion. Have you a suggestion that might enable us to proceed more expeditiously? Your comment about not supporting the removals was part of the basis for my edits. Activist (talk) 20:13, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
I also do not support removing the lists. I noticed that there were many problems with them needing cleanup, but they just need editing. I moved entries that were in the wrong sections or order within sections, added dates, removed a contemporary periodical from a list of individuals only, made format corrections, removed bad links, etc. I'll try to get back and do some more cleanups this week. Activist (talk) 07:17, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
I restored the wholly deleted Contemporary list, moved deceased members up to "second half of the 20th Century" list, and added birth dates for some of those living and life spans for those deceased whom I moved. Every one of the members of both lists has an article and the members of older sections have as well, without additional info. Any reader can go to the articles for details regarding members of any section for additional data. I'm removing the notices which are three years old. I also corrected automatically generated red text error messages in references that had remained since as long ago as May 2011. Activist (talk) 11:58, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
This is an entirely, entirely unref'd list. It is the Original Research of apparently a single editor and is such is not acceptable under policy. Capitalismojo (talk) 14:14, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
By the way, there are list articles at wikipedia. It may be a solution to create a "list of muckrakers". That wouldn't solve the problem of being unref'd, however. Capitalismojo (talk) 14:21, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

A simple change suggestion[edit]

After reading up about the very word Muckraker I've noticed something that is a minor edit suggestion. About who could be a muckraker. And it's not seems not only journalist could be muckrakers. Possible suggestion of change to group or media people? TheRealVordox (talk) 15:50, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Notable contemporary muckrakers[edit]

This section was properly removed not too long ago for long standing lack of references. In fact, of the previously included massive list, only one, "Matt Drudge" had ANY citations to a reliable source. Now, "Activist" has restored it, without any references for ANY of the entries. And the one entry that actually had an academic reference calling him a "muckraker" (Matt Drudge) was missing from the restore. If a person truly is notable and is muckraker-like, it should be possible to find a reference. Otherwise, nonsense like removing the only one of the entries who actually had a reference, and putting in a massive, unreferenced list will continue to occur. I'm removing it and requesting references for additions. The encylopedia has matured from the day when it was acceptable to just go and slap in massive amounts of unreferenced entries, and the time has come to begin to require references for potentially contentious material. Marteau (talk) 14:22, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

I agree. Capitalismojo (talk) 18:05, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
The material I restored had suffered a recent autonomous massive deletion by Capitalismojo. Yours is not a legitimate rationale for the previously unjustified revert. Discovering the source of that second red text error required an hour's work reviewing edits made since May 17, 2011. Activist (talk) 20:06, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
The material I deleted had a red text error, now restored, that had been in the reference section for four and a half years. Please don't claim this was the work of a "single editor." That section which had been removed in its entirety was the work of a great many editors over the years, and conforms with the materials found in previous sections, which Capitalismojo had removed, autonomously. I moved deceased writers from the "Contemporary" section to the "Second half" section. I provided life spans and year or birth, which conformed with existing material in other sections. I deleted Drudge because, unless I'm mistaken, rather than being a "muckraker," he's a news aggregator/blogger. The provided references were hagiographic rather than encyclopedic. Please don't revert again without seeking an RfC. I don't know how to "ping" but will leave this message at both your USER pages. Rather than destroy the edits of so many others, I hope you would fix those issues that concern you. Thank you. Activist (talk) 19:50, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Please note also that the red text error which I fixed, and has now been restored, is the second I've fixed in days. I've been doing cleanup on that article for many years. Activist (talk) 20:00, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Please note also that, though I hadn't read them before a moment ago, others have brought the same concerns about the inclusion of Drudge that I had. Simply providing referencing does not establish that he belongs on this page. See i.e., the "Expansion" section above, et seq Activist (talk) 20:28, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
The "needs citations" tag has been on the article for three years. How long are we supposed to accept that? How long should entries remain? Indefinately, you seem to be saying... you are proposing that, instead of references, we as editors should be content to "go to the articles for details regarding members of any section for additional data." That is unacceptable. Furthermore, your just saying teh Druge references are "hagiographic" is your personal opinion, offered with no foundation. Drudge being classified as a "muckraker" is common, see the over 500 results from a book search on Google... of course most of them cannot be considered as encyclopedia worthy sources, but many are, nad this is enouhg to show the linkage is not as outrageous as you seem to think it is, and cannot simply be blithely dismissed as you are so willing to do.
.. and yes, Drudge has done more than just aggregate (not much more, but there were instances)... but determining his status as a muckraker is not yours or mine to make, but a thing for the sources... nor is it yours or mine to judge any of the other unreferenced entries on the list. Marteau (talk) 22:24, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
list of names = This Contains what Wikipedia calls an embedded list. see WP:EMBED it is a guide to Wikipedia articles and contains no independent content on its own. There is full citation and references at the specific articles. Rjensen (talk) 23:22, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your input, Rjensen. Would you think that the "needs citations" should be removed, as I'd suggested? Activist (talk) 23:35, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
The point being that the individual articles can be used to support inclusion in a list. But from just looking at the first uncited example, the Donald L. Barlett does not call him a "muckraker". The way I read WP:EMBED (which is a guideline, by the way, not policy) that does not support it's inclusion in the list. You seem to be really proposing we have editors judge for themselves, with no citation and no respected source saying so, whether or not someone is a "muckraker"? I'm having enough trouble getting you to accept an example with two citations (and dozens more where that came from) categorizing someone as a "muckraker" and I'm to go along with the idea that we let editors decide pretty much all the entries on the list for themselves. Seriously? Marteau (talk) 23:46, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
the list is phrased in terms of "investigative journalists" with articles in Wikipedia. ("Muckraker" is a historic term that is rarely used for today's journalists.) That is we do NOT call them "muckrakers". The info about them is a sentence or so that summarizes their wikipedia article in a nutshell. ALl in all I think it makes for very useful info for readers. Rjensen (talk) 23:57, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Regarding Barlett, Neiman reports recognizes him on a very short list as: "Among those journalists whose blend of temperament, timing and tenaciousness has propelled them into the ranks of successful muckrakers, besides Anderson, I’d put Ida Tarbell, Seymour Hersh, Jessica Mitford, Ida Wells-Barnett, and the team of Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, among others." Activist (talk) 00:12, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Regarding that ref: it is the personal reflection and essay of Steve Weinberg and does not categorically state that these people are definitively "muckrakers", just that he considers them such. Capitalismojo (talk) 04:25, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

This is an article on "muckraker" it is not a blog post on modern investigative journalists. The linkage ref is so weak as to be a joke. It is clear that the consensus is that it not be included. See WP:OR, WP: SYNTHESIS, WP:V. This list is an embarrasment. Capitalismojo (talk) 04:14, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

How about we not add people to an article on "muckraker" unless they have been described as a "muckraker" in a reliable source. It is clear that describing someone as a "muckraker" who has not been so described in a reliable source is a serious BLP violation. Capitalismojo (talk) 04:21, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
How about helping readers. "Muckraker" is the old term for "investigative journalist". Rjensen (talk) 04:27, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
No, it isn't Capitalismojo (talk) 04:28, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Here are the current dictionary synonyms for "muckraker": noun: faultfinder, detractor, attacker, carper, caviler, complainant, complainer, defamer, disparager, doubter, maligner, nagger, quibbler, scolder, slanderer, vilifier Capitalismojo (talk) 04:33, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
You missed the thesauruses that give "investigative journalist" as a synonym. 1) 2) 3) Rjensen (talk) 04:45, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
the "Explain words" ref synonym for muckraker is not "investigative journalist" it is "mudslinger".
Powerthesaurus ref is not a RS, it is crowdsourced and "investigative journalist" doesn't appear until the third page of results. Neither is "crossword solver". I note that all have generally negative synonyms for muckraker not "investigative journalist". This attempted defence of Original Resarch and Synthesis fails to convince and highlights the BLP policy violation inherent in the effort. Capitalismojo (talk)
We are talking about journalism not synonyms here and the RS clearly state the point. James Aucoin says by 1970 the terms "muckraking," "reform journalism," and "investigative journalism", "Were the same type of journalism". [James L. Aucoin, The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism (University of Missouri Press, 2007) p. 90.] Journalism textbooks point out that McClure's 1902 muckraking standards, "Have become integral to the character of modern investigative journalism." [W. David Sloan; Lisa Mullikin Parcell (2002). American Journalism: History, Principles, Practices. McFarland. pp. 211–213. ] Furthermore, the successes

of the early muckrakers continued to inspire journalists--note the dates in the title of this book.[1]


  1. ^ Cecelia Tichi, Exposés and excess: Muckraking in America, 1900/2000 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013)
I can see a RfC and a formal seeking of consensus in this article's future. First off, there are "investigative journalists" who I, and I am sure others, would not consider "muckrakers". Although I agree that a list of "investigative journalists" would be of use to many visitors to this page, it does not belong smack dab in the middle of the article. Such a thing properly belongs as a category, or as a "See also" or "For Further Reading" sort of thing at the end of the article (or whatever the standard is here... it's been a while). There is simply too much room for mischief and disagreement here. To me, a "muckraker" is more than just an 'investigative jouralist' but one who crusades for some sort of justice. The key here is, what is 'justice'. Is, for example, Druge a crusader for justice, or simply a sensasionalist meany and a tool of the Kochs? We'll have to agree to disagree on this, but what we should NOT do is apply our subjective standards on who gets into the article or who gets excluded. We MUST use reliable sources to avoid attempts to game the system. Do we really have to go to an RfC on this one? Because it's seeming like that will be required. Or can we just simply agree that such a thing has the potential for gamesmanship, for differing points of view leading to advocacy (and yes, "activism" here) in what gets included and excluded in the article? The potential for this becoming a battleground is self evident, and I'm personally going to have to draw a bright line here and say we have got to require references, and cannot leave it up to editorial opinion here. The potential for tomfoolery is just too great.

So, "no" to a list of "Investigative Journalists" in the body. There are investigative journalists who are not "muckrakers", and the article is about "muckrakers". And "yes" to requiring a citation for the inclusion of anyone in the body of the article, in any capacity. Marteau (talk) 11:25, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

There are investigative journalists who are not "muckrakers", says Marteau without any RS. It's his personal POV and it contradicts RS James Aucoin says by 1970 the terms "muckraking," "reform journalism," and "investigative journalism", "Were the same type of journalism". [James L. Aucoin, The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism p 90].
Policy requires we remove unref'd material WP:V and BLP violations WP:BLP. Attempts to re-add violating material will be dealt with appropriately Capitalismojo (talk) 04:03, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
All the statements are fully referenced at the appropriate article-- there are no BLP violations.
The fact that these people may be described as investigative journalists at their wikipedia articles does not make a for a ref of "muckraker' at this article. Each descriptor (especially for a living person) must be ref'd here, as multiple editors have stated above. Capitalismojo (talk) 04:06, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
The Aucoin source does not say that every usage of "investigative journalist" is synonymous with "muckraker" just that some writers use them as synonyms. See the new section in talk below. Marteau (talk) 10:15, 8 November 2015 (UTC)


Support removal of this list - While it may be reasonable to provide a list of investigative journalists at Investigative journalism, there is no reason to include a list of modern day, living journalists at this article. The term is used in the modern sense as a pejorative, and any meaning that it may have previously held will not be reasonably associated with the persons listed here. Some sources describing listed persons as "muckrakers" may exist, but these will be definitively opinions, and, per WP:NPOV, must be attributed, which is not possible, or WP:DUE, in a list. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 04:14, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

"Investigative Journalist" as a synonym for "Muckraker"[edit]

Yesterday, RJensen added to the article:

"James Aucoin says by 1970 the terms 'muckraking,' 'reform journalism,' and 'investigative journalism', 'Were the same type of journalism'."

The implication is that Aucoin is saying the terms are synonymous. That's not what Aucoin actually said, though. Here's the exact quote, which reads much differently once RJensen's selective quoting disappears:

"Carey McWilliams, editor of the Nation, assumed in 1970 that investigative journalism, and reform journalism, or muckraking, were the same type of journalism. (James L. Aucoin, The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism (University of Missouri Press, 2007) p. 90.)

Aucoin said that one individual "assumed" the terms as synonyms. Not that they are synonyms, but that one editor, McWilliams used them as synonyms. That is not an insignificant distinction. We cannot simply say the terms are synonymous based on Aucoin. We can, however, say that the terms are often used as synonyms. And, importantly, we cannot also make the logical leap that every usage of the term "investigative journalist" means "muckraker" based on Aucoin, because that's not what he says... Aucoin says one editor, McWilliams, assumed it to be a synonym. I am going to adjust the verbiage to reflect the actuality of what Aucoin purports. Marteau (talk) 10:08, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

What would you think about, rather than this be an issue of continuing non-resolution, instead, of combining the two with a section title of, say: ==Muckrakers - Investigative Journalists== ? I know that there are contemporary individuals who adopt the title as a term of respect and as a link to their cultural antecedents. One noted member of that fraternity, if fact, has used it proudly as a self-description on his website. (He has no article, however.) Activist (talk) 19:41, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I am opposed to including anyone on a list in this article who has not been labeled a "muckraker" by a reliable source. There is a place for lists of "investigative journalists" (e.g. the "Investigative Journalism" article, or a category, or a "See also" here), but not in the body of this article. Marteau (talk) 20:56, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
I am opposed to including any modern day list of "investigative journalists" at this article; there may be place for such a list at "Investigative Journalism", but not here. I am also concerned that: a) aspects of the "Since 1945" section may not be supported by the sources provided; b) the whole of the article in US-centric & does not cover the use of the term "muckrakers" globally, where it is (almost universally?) a pejorative. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 21:31, 8 November 2015 (UTC)