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Tuesday, May 14, 2002


"What is not so well known across the left, not to mention elsewhere, is that this radical criticism of the limitations of a capitalist sponsored journalism is not a recent phenomenon. In fact, it dates back to the birth, at the beginning of the twentieth century, of both modern monopoly capitalism and modern commercial media, roughly one hundred years ago. Radical criticism of the press was an integral component of the many large social movements of the Progressive Era, which sought to resist the effects of accelerating capitalist development. It was a time of striking similarity to the present, mirroring in particular the corruption of democracy by political and economic elites whose control over the media strangles public awareness, debate, and activism. However, unlike today, radical criticism of capitalist journalism was a dominant theme on the left during the Progressive Era, particularly in the socialist, anarchist, and progressive press. This was the Golden Age of radical press criticism, and Upton Sinclair was at its epicenter."