More People Should Read the Los Angeles Times

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Here are four headlines in four newspapers today:

LA Times: Trump-Kim Jong Un summit fails to produce disarmament plan

New York Times: Trump Sees Shared Path After Meeting Kim

Washington Post: Trump says U.S., North Korea are ‘ready to write a new chapter’

Wall Street Journal: Trump and Kim Begin New Phase of Diplomacy

This reminds me: more people should be reading the LA Times. After years of management depredations it’s not what it used to be, and I feel a little sad when I pick it up from my driveway every morning. It looks a bit like a cancer patient who’s lost a hundred pounds and is barely hanging on.

But—their day-to-day news judgment is the best in the business, something I first noticed during the 2016 presidential campaign. Time after time, they gave stories appropriate play, while the Post and the Journal and the NYT would ignore important stuff and sensationalize trivia. Today we see the same dynamic at work. The LAT straightforwardly describes the most important outcome of the Singapore summit while the other three insist on stenography, repeating nonsensical Trump blather even though he plainly accomplished nothing.

That might change. Maybe yesterday’s summit really will begin a new phase of diplomacy. But it hasn’t yet. So far it’s produced nothing that we haven’t seen half a dozen times before from North Korea. Why act as cheerleaders for Donald Trump’s hype machine instead of soberly telling readers what actually happened and how important it’s actually likely to be? Are they really that afraid of an angry tweet?

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.

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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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