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The Brass Check: A Study of American Journalism

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  18 reviews
States that American journalism is a class institution serving the rich and spurning the poor. This title likens journalists to prostitutes and the title of the book refers to a chit that was issued to patrons of urban brothels of the era. It presents a critique of the structural basis of US media.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 18th 2002 by University of Illinois Press (first published 1970)
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Jim
Oct 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually editing the WikiSource version of this. It's not online yet, so this will take a while.
http://en.wikisource.org

Editing an OCR document & reading the contents at the same time is not a great way to really comprehend the finer points or total thrust of a book, but from what I've seen so far, there is no real need. Sinclair is just whining about how unfair life is. It's actually nauseating. He starts out in "The Story of a Poet" writing his experiences in the third person then
...more
Ryan Holiday
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You probably don't know this, but in 1920 Upton Sinclair self-published arguably the first ever structural criticism of the corrupt and broken press system in America. Not only did he self-publish it-at the height of his fame no less-but he refused to copyright it, hoping to pass through the complete media blacklist a book like this faced. It went on to sell more than 150,000 copies its first year. Take that, Cory Doctorow! Though the book has been almost entirely forgotten by history, it's not ...more
Dr.J.G.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
..........

Upton Sinclair writes, to begin with, about his
...more
Dr.J.G.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
..........

Upton Sinclair writes, to begin with, about his
...more
Dr.J.G.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
..........

Upton Sinclair writes, to begin with, about his
...more
Dr.J.G.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
..........

Upton Sinclair writes, to begin with, about his
...more
Dr.J.G.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
..........

Upton Sinclair writes, to begin with, about his
...more
Corbin Routier
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"... ideas, the most priceless possession of mankind, were made the subject of barter and sale."
-Upton Sinclair

"It is the thesis of this book that American newspaper as a whole represent private interests and not public interests."
-Upton Sinclair

Upton Sinclair starts his book with an interesting storyline: that newspapers wouldn't touch "The Jungle" because of their reliance on money from advertisements, which could be pulled in retaliation if they supported Upton Sinclair. They ridiculed his
...more
Rhonda
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, written by one of the more well-known muckrakers, is an expose of journalism. It's pretty relevant to the 21st century as well.
Dr.J.G.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The press in US then was controlled by various interests and Upton Sinclair found it difficult to publish his work since it was reportage with all his sincerity, no hiding or whitewashing in interest of the paymasters - and as he went on publishing he was hounded by mainstream press and publications, so he wrote about them, and called it Brass Check, something members of another profession were forced to carry once upon a time.

Feb 05, 2016
...........

In between reading this, if one happens to
...more
David Hill
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a book about the state of journalism a century ago. With certain public figures today singing "fake news" whenever anything negative about them is published, it's fitting to visit the topic to get a sense of the history of the subject.

Today, cries of "fake news" are almost entirely a response to negative press. A century ago, the term was of course unknown. I suggest much has changed since Sinclair wrote this book. If things were the same today as back then, powerful figures wouldn't be
...more
Tie Webb
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just like an erudite once said:: "It's déjà vu all over again."
Yogi Berra
Mary
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed most of it, but Sinclair was a bit too wordy for my taste at times. It gives a fascinating peek into the journalism of the early 1900s.
Jesse
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for all aspiring journalists.
Stephen Davis
My m.o. is to finish even books I don't like but I made an exception this time. While I have enjoyed several of his many books, this one about journalism practices, many of which are probably still relevant, was too focused on dated examples of the mistreatment he received as a result, he claimed, of his Socialistic beliefs. It was too much for me.
Valarie
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to change mainstream media.
Well, on one hand, the problem with today's mainstream media are nothing new...on the other hand, the problem hasn't been solved since this book was originally published.

But it's my favorite Upton Sinclair book so far.
Peter
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Somewhat shocking that things were already that bad 100 years ago. It's certainly been downhill ever since. "Paper of Record"? Give me a break...
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Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr. was an American author who wrote close to one hundred books in many genres. He achieved popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, acquiring particular fame for his classic muckraking novel, The Jungle (1906). To gather information for the novel, Sinclair spent seven weeks undercover working in the meat packing plants of Chicago. These direct experiences ...more
“We have a flabby public opinion which would wring its hands in anguish if we took the labor leader by the scruff of his neck, backed him up against a wall, and filled him with lead. Countries which consider themselves every bit as civilized as we do not hesitate about such matters for a moment. Whenever” 0 likes
“The American people thoroughly despise and hate their newspapers; yet they seem to have no idea what to do about it, and take it for granted that they must go on reading falsehoods for the balance of their days!” 0 likes
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