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The dawn of a new age of muckraking

 In these rapidly changing times, technology is playing a key role in democratizing the most important function in our society: the dissemination of information.
By Luke Rudkowski, RussiaToday


Today, talking heads, corporations, governments, editors and publishers no longer make the definitive judgment on what is news and what is not. More than 100 years after Upton Sinclair wrote his muckraking book “The Jungle,” the tradition of muckraking has a new life on the Internet.

Sinclair set out on a daunting task: to infiltrate the meatpacking industry in Chicago. He took months off from work and immersed himself in the business, working undercover to expose the gross mistreatment of workers. Sinclair gave vivid details about immigrant life in Chicago, depicting poverty and homelessness and exploitation by the powerful.

Today, all it takes to create an expose is a laptop and a camera, or even just a cell phone. Anyone can take video and upload it to YouTube for the world to see. This accessibility opens up the possibility of an uncontrolled flow of information around the world.

The people now have eyes and ears all over the world, and are waiting to broadcast. This gives them an advantage over the mainstream media, which cannot always be at the right place at the right time. This exposure allows humanity to see and understand issues more clearly than ever, as events unfold in front of our very eyes from all perspectives.

The mainstream media occasionally misses big stories that rock society – either by negligence or on purpose – that online activists uncover. For example, in his book “Here Comes Everybody,” Clay Shirky details how bloggers brought down Trent Lott.

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