Should Journalists Call It Like They See It?

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The Economist‘s anonymous Democracy in America blogger says journalists should make sure to call the show trials of opposition figures in Iran what they are: show trials.

That point goes to a key advantage that opinionated newsmagazines enjoy: magazine journalists are more likely to call ’em how they sees ’em. Instead of offering readers phony evenhandedness, a magazine writer will generally give you a position on a story (markets are awesome!) and trust her readers to be smart enough to know the difference between fact and opinion. And since they’re not used to “opinions on the shape of the earth differ” journalism, magazines don’t fall into the trap of turning everything into a he-said she-said cable news argument as often as newspapers do.

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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