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Thursday, June 01, 2006

100 Years Ago: Upton Sinclair's Notable Leak to 'The NY Times' - By Greg Mitchell

(May 31, 2006) -- In case you are wondering, leaks to The New York Times go way back. One of the most notable in a long history took place almost exactly a century ago, on May 27, 1906. The leaker was no faceless bureaucrat or wrongdoer looking to atone for some personal or governmental sin, but rather, famed novelist/muckraker Upton Sinclair.
The result? Nothing less than the first Food and Drug Act and the coming of federal meat inspections. Today's leakers should only do so well.
Sinclair, only 28 at the time, had journeyed to Chicago two years earlier to research horrific conditions for workers in the stockyards. In the process he discovered that devil-may-care management also led to dangerous, or just plain disgusting, food on the plates of millions of American consumers. Employees told him how dirt and grime, sawdust, splinters, rat droppings, and even rats routinely ended up in ground meat and sausage. Food handlers with tuberculosis and other diseases were common. There were even tales of workers tumbling into open vats, with only their bones retrieved later. In that case, "you are what you eat" rang frightfully true.
Deciding to fictionalize the problem, he wrote The Jungle, which appeared first in serial form in a magazine and later as a book published by Doubleday, Page & Co. in early 1906. It caused a sensation and brought Sinclair worldwide fame, earning him an audience with President Theodore Roosevelt, who promised reform.

more background on Upton Sinclair...

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sinclair aimed for America's hearts, and hit their stomach's

    6/01/2006 7:18 PM  

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