After World War Two, Carson realized the extent to which the government was permitting the use of toxic chemicals and wrote a book to expose the practice. That book was called Silent Spring, and it "challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world."[footnoteRef:8] Jensen includes an excerpt from Silent Spring to show that Carson was up against one of the most lucrative industries in the world, and that although her work is unfinished, Carson made a huge impact on raising awareness and eventually her work got DDT banned. [8: "The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson," Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.rachelcarson.org/Biography.aspx#.UYOWMCshKII]
Malcolm X's autobiography was arguably not a project undertaken as a form of muckraker journalism. The author started writing when he was in prison, and he comes to learn the power of the written word in overcoming political and social oppression. Malcolm X was overshadowed by Dr. Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement because the latter's message was more digestible and accessible to white Americans. Malcolm X advocated for black empowerment that was independent of the dominant culture. His work transformed African-American identity and consciousness, not least because of his embrace of the Nation of Islam.
Investigative journalism, the modern moniker for muckraking, is one of the keys to a healthy democracy. Only by exposing the truth can a democracy hope to survive in the midst of the oligarchic regime. As Jensen puts it, America needs a "free, open, and aggressive" press and not just a free press.[footnoteRef:9] There are a number of modern-day muckrakers like Jon Stewart of the Daily Show or Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report, who use comedy as a means of muckraking. Their shows serve the function of helping people locate the absurdity...
More straightforward investigative journalists like Michael Moore have accomplished many of the goals that Jensen outlines in Stories that Changed America. Moore's movies like Bowling for Columbine and Sicko expose singular issues in American society, revealing the methods by which corporations and politicians collude to strip power from the American people. [9: Carl Jensen, Stories that Changed America, 57]
Corporate greed leads to censorship, and to the stifling of political change. Lawsuits against investigative journalists only underscore the problem that America faces. There are a whole host of issues that continue to remain under the surface, waiting for muckrakers to stir up the dirt and expose the truth. Ongoing issues include the agro-business industry and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the petrochemical industry. If Americans want to descend into the muck of tyranny, then they are welcome to shun the likes of Michael Moore or criticize people like Carl Jensen of being "liberals." The truth is neither liberal, nor conservative. Muckraking exposes the root causes of problems in American society, with the goal of effecting social transformation and social justice.
Carson, Rachel. "Silent Spring." Excerpt in Stories that Changed America, edited by Carl Jensen, 117-123.
Daily Censored. "Carl Jensen." Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.dailycensored.com/writers/carl-jensen/
The Daily Show. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.thedailyshow.com/
Jensen, Carl. Stories that Changed America. New York: Seven Stories, 2002.
Malcolm X "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," Excerpt in Stories that Changed America, edited by Carl Jensen, 181-185.
Michael Moore. "Michael Moore," Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.michaelmoore.com/
Nader, Ralph. "Who Benefits from Auto Accidents?" In Stories that Changed America, edited by Carl Jensen, 227-231.
Rachel Carson. "The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson." Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.rachelcarson.org/
Sinclair, Upton. "The Jungle," in Stories that Changed America, Edited by Carl Jensen, 59-74, New York: Seven Stories.
United States History. "Muckrakers: Using Words to Win Political Battles." Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h920.html
Upton Sinclair. "Carl Jensen." Accessed May 3, 2013, http://www.uptonsinclair.com/cjbio.html
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