Public and Private

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Andrew Sullivan explains why he blogged last week about Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation:

I was caught between two very powerful impulses: the ethical desire not to say anything untrue or unverifiable and the ethical compulsion I felt to be totally honest with my readers about what I made of the passing scene from day to day….And I could not wait or duck. A columnist can do that; a blogger cannot. To have stopped myself asking of Kagan’s orientation would have been, to my mind, something of a rupture of trust between me and Dish readers. It would have erected a barrier between my own thoughts and what I allowed to appear on the blog.

I don’t get this. A compulsion not to simply parrot the conventional wisdom or pull your punches I understand. But isn’t silence ever an option? There’s no rule that says every passing thought has to be memorialized in a blog post, is there?

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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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