Muckrakers

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2007 AP English Language FRQ (Question 2: Muckrakers)
A muckraker is known to be an individual who “searches pit and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business.” The issue on whether a muckraker goes too far in their trivial pursuits or if they expose a just amount of lies can be debated. Muckrakers are responsible for many moments in history, in which government and/or businesses have been taken accountable for corruption in the United States. These brave journalists are one of the only people left that can police powerful industry leaders and even the government itself. In almost every case, journalists who expose such misconduct do not go too far. Their actions bring down corrupt politicians, criminal business leaders, and cheating athletes. 

Politicians have a history of corruption. Clearly the most historically publicized event involving media revealing corruption is the Watergate Scandal. The Watergate Scandal is an important event of history that was documented by muckrakers and subsequently led to the president of the United States resigning. President Nixon was a paranoid man with many insecurities. He ordered the installation of cameras and recording devices into the Watergate hotel to record the conversations of other political parties. They were eventually caught and he was publically sabotaged. His political career was ended quicker due to the constant investigation on the issue by the truth-seeking journalists of his time. The blatant hypocrisy of the government would have gone on without public awareness. It should be a crime in and of itself to simply let them go unpunished. Muckrakers play a valuable role in bringing down corrupt politicians.

Political corruption pales in comparison to business corruption. Wealthy CEO’s commit any crime necessary to remain so. The Enron corporation scandal revealed by the media displays this belief vividly. Facing bankruptcy, the people in power at Enron unhesitantly...
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