Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Muckraker is a somewhat pejorative term for an investigative reporter: someone who digs up dirt or rakes muck. It is associated with a period of crusading American journalism—called muckraking—during the first dozen years of the twentieth century, although the phrase can also be used to refer to investigative reporting in general. The word muckraker was first coined by President Theodore Roosevelt in a speech on March 17, 1906. Roosevelt was angered by a recent political exposé published by his enemy William Randolph Hearst in Cosmopolitan magazine. In an address to the Washington Gridiron Club, Roosevelt complained about a dangerous new breed of journalist whose inflammatory writings were sweeping America. “The man with the Muck-rake,” Roosevelt said derisively, “the man who could look no way but downward with the muck-rake in his hands” only wanted “to rake to himself the filth on the floor” and “consistently refuses to see aught Although ...