Freedom of the press

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. as depicted on the co...

Upton Beall Sinclair Jr. as depicted on the cover of Times Magazine in 1934. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Brass Check, A Study of American Journalism was written by Upton Sinclair, Jr. in 1928 relating his experiences with American newspapers and the wire services that supplied newspapers with “news.” Upton Sinclair, Jr. is considered a “muckraker,” and he lived from 1878 to 1968. His most famous book is The Jungle, about the Chicago stockyards and published in 1906. Although Teddy Roosevelt held a low opinion of Sinclair, he sent investigators to Chicago to inspect the meat packers and prepare a report. That report was submitted to Congress and led ultimately to the present day FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Sinclair wrote many books and recently I wrote about another worth reading, Oil!.

It was Sinclair’s contention that for-profit newspapers would never, or hardly ever, publish stories that might harm their advertisers. The owners of newspapers were and are members of the 1% and are members of the same social set. So there is social pressure to go along to get along and there are advertising dollars that can be used to pressure newspaper editors in their editorial decisions. The only way to avoid these pressures, to my mind, is obtain your news from non-profit sources that are not dependent on advertising revenue. Two sources of news that I recommend are http://www.truthout.org and http://www.readersupportednews.org. Both are free, but both deserve your support so that they may remain viable. I encourage you to consider donating to either or both periodically or regularly.

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