August 15, 2010

(Upton Sinclair - did not endear himself to corporate interests)

Probably the most famous (or infamous, depending on which side of the fence you're on) muckrakers and whistle blowers of the late 19th and early 20th century was Upton Sinclair. His books, exposing conditions in the Meat Packing industry and corruption in other parts of society did much to change the kind of lives most Americans led during those years. It was his novel The Jungle that brought about the introduction of the Pure Food and Drug Act and established the FDA during the Teddy Roosevelt administration.

Sinclair was active all the way until his death in 1968 at the age of 90. He railed against the Corporate takeover of America and how Big Business had influenced much of what was going on with society for the worst. This interview, given in 1962, Sinclair is asked about the current state of Newspaper publishing in America and how it changed from the way it was in the early part of the 20th Century.

Upton Sinclair: “When I went out to Colorado during the Colorado coal strike . . I’ve forgotten the year, I called up the Denver Post, published some perfectly . . .fantastic falsehoods about me, made up out of the whole cloth. And I called up one of the proprietors and protested. And he cursed me, and he said “we say what we . .’ and I won’t repeat his language but ‘we are gonna say what we please about you and we don’t care a blankety-blank-blank what you think about us or what you say about us’ and that’s the way they talked.”

Even in 1962 Sinclair was wary of the amount of influence corporate interests were holding over America. It would be fascinating to get his take on how much it's changed today. And how much it's gone back to the late 19th Century.

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