Public to Banks: We Forgive You, Sort Of

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The headline just emailed to me says: “ABC News Poll: Banks Need to Make Amends.” And it’s true: 77% of respondents think banks need to do more. Sounds like people are still pissed! But if you click on the poll, you also get the result on the right.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t look much like an angry mob to me. Basically, the country is evenly split on whether the bank bailout was fair, and a majority thinks banks treat people decently. I’m pretty surprised by that. Judging from news coverage, I would have expected about 80% of the country to loathe the bank bailouts, and after nonstop coverage of credit card and debit card excesses, I’d expect trust in banks to be somewhere around the same level as lawyers and late-night pitchmen. But no. Overall, this reaction is a great big “eh.” It doesn’t bode well for the prospect of public pressure pushing Congress to do anything serious about financial reform.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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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

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