No Joking Please, We’re British

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On Friday I twittered:

If my browsing speed doesn’t improve soon, I’m going to fly a plane into the internet. Don’t pretend you weren’t warned.

Just joking! But a reader emails me a warning that if you live in Britain, you’d better be careful with stuff like this. Paul Chambers was arrested last month for twittering a not dissimilar joke:

Yesterday, the court heard that the message read: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

Rob Desira, prosecuting, told the court: “The message was posted on the Twitter social networking site. He admitted posting the message into the public domain but never intended the message to be received by the airport or for them to take it seriously.”

….After his arrest, Chambers was suspended from work pending an internal investigation. Detectives also confiscated his iPhone, laptop and home computer….”I would never have thought, in a thousand years, that any of this would have happened because of a Twitter post. I’m the most mild-mannered guy you could imagine.”

OK, maybe it was a dumb thing to do. But arrested, suspended from work, laptop and phone confiscated, and now facing possible jail time? Come on.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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.

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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.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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