Muckraking and Objectivity: Journalism's Colliding Traditions

Muckraking and Objectivity: Journalism's Colliding Traditions

Muckraking and Objectivity: Journalism's Colliding Traditions

Muckraking and Objectivity: Journalism's Colliding Traditions

Synopsis

An exploration of the role of the journalist in a democratic society that defines the relationship between an objective reportorial stance and that of the muckraker who crusades on an issue to expose what he sees as evil, Miraldi traces the history of muckraking journalism and investigative reporting from the turn of the century through the sixties and seventies. He includes examples from newspapers, magazines, and television and zeroes in on factors that interfere with the work of journalists and calls for a renewed spirit of journalistic activism in the nineties.

Excerpt

Tappen Park consists of a small rectangular greensward, a cluster of benches, and maybe two dozen old oak trees which surround brick paths. It is barely a park. Located in the heart of a commercial district known as Stapleton, a small town on the eastern shore of Staten Island, one of New York City's five boroughs, this village has thrived ever since Cornelius Vanderbilt plied his ferryboat off its deep port. A park visitor today can see tankers entering New York Harbor, cruising under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The Manhattan skyline beckons to the north.

In the mid-1960s Tappen Park became known to locals as "Needle Park" because Staten Island's North Shore heroin addicts would gather under the trees, drink wine, hang out, shoot dope, and scare off the shoppers who had come to the quaint stores that surround the park. Since all of New York City was in the grip of a heroin epidemic, Tappen Park was not alone as a drug haven. Many of the city's parks had become shooting galleries, and clinics to treat drug addicts were just in their infancy.

One of the treatments for heroin that became popular--and controversial--was methadone, a synthetic opiate that stops the craving for heroin and allows addicts to lead normal lives. An addict could go to a publicly funded clinic, take methadone, and be back off to work, home, or play. Sometimes an addict could take home a few days' supply of methadone and not have to return daily to the clinic. Thousands of heroin addicts were maintained on methadone, while thousands more . . .

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