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In 2003, when America was still getting acquainted with the “Axil of Evil,” Parade, the Sunday newspaper supplement best known for its Hummel figurine ads, asked The Book of Lists author David Wallechinksy to compile a list of the world’s top 10 dictators. The feature proved so popular that he has repeated it every year since, drawing on government data and human rights groups’ reports for his admittedly subjective project. (Chart shows the ranking of the top-10 dictators whose PR efforts Joshua Kurlantzick documents above.) Wallechinsky says that he hears from PR firms that represent the dictators�”perhaps pleading, “Dude! My guy’s way worse than Kim Jong Il”

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

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