Marketing the Stimulus

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

A friend emails with a question that’s nagged at me from time to time too:

As you know, Virginia is a pretty conservative state and as you can imagine there is currently a tremendous amount of complaining and griping about Obama’s stimulus package and how it’s just a waste of money and is causing the federal deficit to explode.

As I see it, one of the big problems is that there is absolutely no PR campaign that tells people where the stimulus money is going. If you have the time and energy you can find it on the Internet but there is nothing on site or on location that announces it as a stimulus project.

Every day for the past few months, I drive through or by a road project that is being funded by the stimulus package. But there is not a single sign or banner that announces it is an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project. I’ll bet you that 95% of the people who drive by this road project have no idea where the money for it came from. The local papers don’t even talk about it.

Is this something unique to Virginia or are the funds being spent invisibly across the country? If that’s the case, it’s a huge mistake and it ought to be fixed ASAP (i.e. well before November).

I’d say that’s true where I live too. Every local road project has plenty of signage telling us who’s paying for it, but federal dollars are pretty hard to identify. There are occasional ARRA signs, but not many. How about in your neck of the woods? Are most projects (construction or otherwise) getting federal dollars signed so that people know about it? Or not?

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.

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

We Recommend

Latest