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Press Professionalization and Propaganda: The Rise of Journalistic Double-Mindedness, ...

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Press Professionalization and Propaganda:

It is One Thing to Inform
the Public Mind,
Another Thing to Deceive It

When journalist Ray Stannard Baker received a request in 1903 from Samuel McClure to begin an investigative series on the railroads, Baker was delighted. He believed that McClures magazine was ideal—a publication that encouraged a new journalism featuring deep investigation of its subjects. With McClures, Baker later wrote in his autobiography, he had moved beyond the “haste and superficiality” of newspapers and could now “saturate himself with his subject.”1 McClures long-story format encouraged him to get all the facts possible and take the time necessary to revise and build a substantive account on an industry that ran its rails on graft and greed.

Being able to move beyond the deadline-oriented constraints of the daily press suited Baker just fine, especially when it came to doing a story on the railroads. He believed that the problems in that industry—monopolistic