Saturday, May 08, 2010

'There is no such thing in America as an independent press': Upton Sinclair

Now that the Washington Post company has put its loss-making weekly The Newsweek on the chopping block (any buyers?), I am uncannily reminded of Upton Sinclair. The man was a walking talking company--novelist, essayist, polemicist, activist, politician and what not. He also won a Pulitzer.

His influential 1906 novel, The Jungle, changed the face of the meatpacking industry in the USA in the early 20th century, finally leading to the establishment of the FDA. Now apparently FDA is controlled by food company lobbyists (read works of Eric Schlosser, of The Fast Food Nation fame).

Anyway, has the mainstream media really changed in the last 100 years? Is Newsweek dying because there are no readers for it, or is it that the powers that be have media like Google and Yahoo to do what Newsweek and Time did for them for 70-80 years or so (that is to chaperon public opinion).

From Zafar Anjum, a Singapore based writer's blog.
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