Muckrakers were the kind of people you didn’t want to upset. They were journalists who seek to expose anything that they could get their hands on. They figured since their writings to congress were taking too long to get noticed, writing about it instead would make it blow up quicker. It worked. Since there were printers and subscribers to these writing, Muckrakers figured if they could get people to read and talk about what’s being written about, why not? They wrote about problems of industrialization, social ills, corporate corruption, and political corruption.
The term comes from the word muckrake which was used by President Theodore Roosevelt in a speech in 1906, which is when he agreed with many of the charges of the muckrakers but said that some of their methods were sensational and irresponsible. Roosevelt compared Muckrakers to a character from Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress who never looked up, he was always looking down with a muckrake in his hand and only raked filth.