Stewart Rhodes Doesn’t Like MoJo. That’s Why You Do.

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At a press conference for this weekend’s big gun-rights rally in Washington, D.C., Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced that he’s thinking about suing us over Justine Sharrock’s profile of his organization, a fast-rising right-wing group that is recruiting men and women in uniform to resist the Obama administration. Rhodes is upset that we featured Oath Keepers supporters who talk openly about taking up arms against the government, and says that instead we should have focused on the Navy officer who sits on his board (and who seems in unshakeably good cheer when answering questions like, “That’s the ultimate cost of freedom, isn’t it—blood?”).

The thing is, talk of armed resistance is what our reporter, Justine Sharrock, heard over and over during the months she spent reporting on Rhodes’ organization—going to Oath Keepers conferences, spending time in Oath Keepers chat rooms, and meeting as many of the group’s supporters as she could. She wrote the story she found, not the story she was directed to. That’s what good reporters do, even when it earns them angry comments, threats of litigation, or worse. (Last year, another one of our writers, Anna Lenzer, was detained and not-so-subtly threatened with rape while investigating Fiji Water).

Some MoJo reporters are working on in-depth exposes—on the industry that stands in the way of housing relief, for example, and on a mysterious birth-defect cluster near a toxic-waste landfill—right now. Others are in Washington, keeping tabs on folks like the Congressman who calls other lawmakers “domestic enemies.” The reason they can stay on the beat is… well, you. MoJo relies on our readers’ help; hundreds of you have pitched in to get us to the goal of $25,000 for our current drive, but we’re not there yet. You can give 50 cents, $5, or $50, via credit card, PayPal, or check in the mail. Try it! It’ll feel good to be part of one of a very few reader-supported news organizations in America.

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.

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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