This is an essay on Teddy Roosevelt and the age of Investigative Journalism. I recommend Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s new book about Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft , and the rise of investigative journalism, ” The Bully Pulpit“, a mirror of our own time?
1908 or thereabouts, Ida Tarbell, noted in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s, easily accessible chatty book, The Bully Pulpit, : “At a time when wealth is rolling up as never before, a vast number of hard working people in this country are having a difficult time of making ends meet. Because wage increases were not keeping pace with the escalating cost of living, working men and women were becoming despondent, knowing that no matter how much they earned, there was no such thing as getting ahead. “. Therefore, Tarbell and the leading journalists of the time, focused their attention on the immediate causes of the people’s plight, going after policies that were crippling the Middle Class and shining a light on the face of human misery. It was the secret of their success then and given similar times and hardships should be represented by social activists today.
The mantle should be passed to a new breed of activist journalists. The pen should once again be our sword. Since the ” respected” tabloids have become entertainment, the internet and other papers will take their place . Once again, it is necessary to support diligent investigative reporters who educate the Public, allowing the public to become empowered by giving them the authority and the facts required to proclaim the rights they are entitled to.
The thievery has persisted long enough, 1901-1909 ended in a Wall Street crash. next came the great crash of 1929, then the mini crashes in the 70’s , 80’s, 90’s, and the early part of the 21 st Century, culminating in the “man made” financial crisis of 2008. We the people , need protection from all pervasive greed . The system can be changed, if we all become involved and care about the “Future of the Middle Class”. We always have choices.
As an afterthought, the movies are becoming one of the vehicles for social change.
The Hobbit Series, written by Tolkien to describe his feelings about the rise of the third Reich: is easily adaptable to modern times and the rise of the Plutocrats.
Or the Wolf of Wall Street, based on a true story. Not yet seen by me, but long on excess and commentary with famous actors taking up the call for social action. They are supplementing the novelists of old. We need more up to date story tellers to create the atmosphere for change.
But change is in the wind, I can feel it and once it roars, it will blow in a breath of fresh air. Certainly, by the next elections we the people will be ready, because we will understand that Politics effects us all.