Bill O’Reilly vs…. John Sifton

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Last month, Daniel Schulman and I revealed that John Sifton and his private investigation firm, One World Research, were hired by the ACLU to obtain photographs of CIA interrogators for Guantanamo lawyers defending high-value terrorist suspects. Someone at Bill O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” evidently read the piece, because the Fox News Channel show sent a producer to Sifton’s house last week to ask questions about his work in an ambush-style interview:

Beyond O’Reilly’s aggressive tactics, two things stick out about this segment. First, it was great to see O’Reilly refer to our scoop—but rather aggravating that he didn’t credit us with the story. Also, O’Reilly refers to what Sifton did as an “illegal operation.” That’s far from clear. While the Justice Department is investigating Gitmo defense lawyers for showing the photos Sifton took to detainees, there’s no indication—so far—that Sifton himself is being investigated. And even if Sifton was under investigation, that wouldn’t be proof that what he did was “illegal.” Taking photographs of people in public places isn’t, generally, against the law—even if you know that they’re CIA officers. Nor is it necessarily illegal to research the identities of CIA officers. Anyway, you can read more about the operation here, and judge for yourself.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend