Cause Celeb

Can star power create social change?

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.

Celeb: Rob Reiner, film director/producer and Michael Stivic on “All in the Family”

Cause: Funding child development programs

What he’s done: Wrote and led the fight for Proposition 10, a successful 1998 ballot initiative to raise California cigarette taxes 50 cents per pack to fund such programs

What celeb gets: Serious political credibility and tangible achievements for a personal crusade

What cause gets: A steady flow of money — the tax hike might bring in up to $750 million a year.

Connection between celeb and cause: Reiner traces some of his own personality problems to his earliest years. This gives him an intense interest in early childhood development, where he thinks the most important help is given.

Chance celeb will humiliate cause: If it can stand constant press references to “Meathead,” very little. Reiner got props from the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Time, and London’s Financial Times, leaving both celebrity and cause basking in the warm glow of respect.

Actual results? Against the odds — Californians aren’t known to be eager to tax themselves — Reiner and crew pulled it off.


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