They did what was necessary to get their stories, meeting sources in back allies and risking bodily harm if caught.
Later 'Muckrakers' became 'Newsmongers', with the same commitment to ferreting out the story.
Today's media moguls don't encourage muckraking (unless it's against the stars). Rupert Murdoch of Fox News fame, even went so far as to say that Watergate should never have been exposed. Clearly he would have killed the story.
Then along came Julian Assange. I don't think anyone has ever done so much to protect the free flow of information as this man.
They've thrown everything at him. PayPal, Amazon, Visa and Mastercard, but he's still standing and the news continues to flow.
His arrest has only made him a martyr to the cause and his fans are increasing.
The people's revenge to corporate media.
Johann Hari at the Huffington Post says Julian Assange Has Made Us All Safer -- and Been a Great Gift to US National Security:
Every one of us owes a debt to Julian Assange. Thanks to him, we now know that our governments are pursuing policies that place you and your family in considerably greater danger. It's only because of his leaks that we know the US government has secretly launched war on yet another Muslim country, sanctioned torture, kidnapped innocent people from the streets of free countries and intimidated the police into hushing it up, and covered up the killing of 15,000 civilians -- five times the number killed on 9/11. Each one of these acts has increased the number of jihadis. We can only change these policies if we know about them --and Assange has given us the black-and-white proof.My hero.