We Should Stop Helping the Silver Scammers

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.

We’ve all seen ads like this a million times, but for some reason this one finally caught my attention. It’s the usual pitch: there’s a limited supply of silver bars, and California residents can get them cheap if they act fast! “For the next 2 days residents who find their state listed on the Distribution List above in bold are getting individual State Silver Bars at just the state minimum of $57 set by the Federated Mint.” And if you order ten bars, shipping and handling are free!

The current fixing for an ounce of silver is about $15. So if you pay $1,140 for $150 worth of silver, they’ll throw in shipping gratis. What a deal.

Anyway, I know this is all legal because the fine print says yada yada yada, and there’s no law that prevents selling goods for an astronomical price. But really: are we all so desperate for advertising dollars that we have to sell space to folks like this? I guess the answer is yes, but maybe that ought to change. We all know who gets taken in by these kinds of ads, and it doesn’t speak well of any publication that continues to be complicit in this.


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