Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor-in-Chief

Clara is the Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones. During her tenure, Mother Jones has won National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched its website, and established bureaus in Washington and New York. Along the way Clara won a PEN award for editing, gave birth, and forgot what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

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Clara Jeffery is Editor-in-Chief of Mother Jones where, together with Monika Bauerlein, she has spearheaded an era of editorial growth and innovation, marked by the addition of now 13-person Washington bureau, an overhaul of the organization's digital strategy and a corresponding 15-fold growth in traffic, and the winning of two National Magazine Awards for general excellence. When Jeffery and Bauerlein received a PEN award for editing in 2012, the judges noted: "With its sharp, compelling blend of investigative long-form journalism, eye-catching infographics and unapologetically confident voice, Mother Jones under Jeffery and Bauerlein has been transformed from what was a respected—if under-the-radar—indie publication to an internationally recognized, powerhouse general-interest periodical influencing everything from the gun-control debate to presidential campaigns." In addition to their success on the print side, Jeffery and Bauerlein's relentless attention to detail, boundless curiosity and embrace of complex subjects are also reflected on the magazine's increasingly influential website, whose writers and reporters often put more well-known and deep-pocketed news divisions to shame. Before joining the staff of Mother Jones, Jeffery was a senior editor of Harper's magazine. Fourteen pieces that she personally edited have been finalists for National Magazine Awards, in the categories of essay, profile, reporting, public interest, feature, and fiction. Works she edited have also been selected to appear in various editions of Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Science Writing. Clara cut her journalistic teeth at Washington City Paper, where she wrote and edited political, investigative, and narrative features, and was a columnist. Jeffery is a graduate of Carleton College and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. She resides in the Mission District of San Francisco with her partner Chris Baum and their son, Milo. Their burrito joint of choice is El Metate.

 

The Real Reason Richard Mellon Scaife Has Embraced Bill Clinton?

| Wed Nov. 14, 2007 3:52 PM EST

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As Jonathan notes below, the Clintons seem to have won over Richard Mellon Scaife. That's right, Scaife, he of the "vast right-wing conspiracy," the man who funded the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, among other publications and entites, to go after Bill and Hill with a zeal not seen since the Comstock days, is now saying Clinton is "very laudable" and, through his latest media mouthpiece Newsmax.com, is moreover "a political and cultural powerhouse" who is "part Merlin and part Midas—a politician with a magical touch." In reporting on this strange turn of events, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff (who broke the Monicagate story) can only throw his hands up and say "cue the apocalypse."

Well, I don't really have any idea either, but it's perhaps worth noting that Scaife is going through a particularly tawdry divorce, one that was hilariously detailed by the Washington Post's David Segal back in October. It is more than worth reading in full—this accompanying illustration gives you a sense of Segal's itinerary of a divorce/travelogue device, but just to get you to follow the link...

[Scaife] is best known for funding efforts to smear then-President Bill Clinton, but more quietly he's given in excess of $300 million to right-leaning activists, watchdogs and think tanks. Atop his list of favorite donees: the family-values-focused Heritage Foundation, which has published papers with titles such as "Restoring a Culture of Marriage."
The culture of his own marriage is apparently past restoring. With the legal fight still in the weigh-in phase, the story of Scaife v. Scaife already includes a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery.
Oh, and there's the money. Three words, people.
No. Pre. Nup.
Unfathomable but true, when Scaife (rhymes with safe) married his second wife, Margaret "Ritchie" Scaife, in 1991, he neglected to wall off a fortune that Forbes recently valued at $1.3 billion. This, to understate matters, is likely going to cost him, big time. As part of a temporary settlement, 60-year-old Ritchie Scaife is currently cashing an alimony check that at first glance will look like a typo: $725,000 a month. Or about $24,000 a day, seven days a week. As Richard Scaife's exasperated lawyers put it in a filing, "The temporary order produces an amount so large that just the income from it, invested at 5 percent, is greater each year than the salary of the President of the United States."

But wait, there's more:

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Elliot Spitzer Drops Plan To Issue Drivers' Licenses To Illegal Immigrants (Boy, I'll Bet Hillary's Pissed)

| Wed Nov. 14, 2007 11:20 AM EST

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New York Governor Elliot Spitzer is dropping his plan to issue drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, that pesky little issue that caused Hillary to stumble in the last debate.

In explaining why he's changed his position three times in as many weeks, Spitzer told the NYT that, in their words, "opposition is just too overwhelming to move forward with such a policy." Courage, Mary! Says Spitzer: "You have perhaps seen me struggle with it because I thought we had a principled decision, and it's not necessarily easy to back away from trying to move a debate forward."

Well, I guess the Lou Dobbs of the world are winning this debate, which is too bad, because if you supply some simple logic and some basic facts, it becomes obvious why Spitzer's policy (the first one) was a good one.

For starters, according to the "Unlicensed to Kill" study put out for AAA by the Texas Transportation Agency (which is the premier research group on all things traffic/auto related): "20 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States—one fatal crash in five—involves at least one driver who is unlicensed, driving on an invalid license, or of
unknown license status."

Not all of these drivers are illegal immigrants, of course. That figure also includes a lot of kids and DWIers. But here's the thing:

What Does 60 Minutes Tell Us About "Curve Ball" We Didn't Already Know?

| Thu Nov. 1, 2007 11:20 PM EDT

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From the looks of this press release not much. Here's the news they're claiming to break:

Curve Ball is an Iraqi defector named Rafid Ahmed Alwan, who arrived at a German refugee center in 1999. To bolster his asylum case and increase his importance, he told officials he was a star chemical engineer who had been in charge of a facility at Djerf al Nadaf that was making mobile biological weapons. 60 Minutes has learned that Alwan's university records indicate he did study chemical engineering but earned nearly all low marks, mostly 50s. Simon's investigation also uncovered an arrest warrant for theft from the Babel television production company in Baghdad where he once worked.

Ok, his name is new. And that's big. But him being a liar, and a thief (and also, a sex offender) and a whole bunch of other things 60 Minutes is claiming to have uncovered have in actuality been known for years. You can read all about the Curve Ball saga in our Iraq War Timeline. And much of the original reporting on Curve Ball was done by the LA Times. And former CIA official Tyler Drumheller, the apparent big source for 60 Minutes, has been speaking out for years.

Which is not to say that Bob Simon's two year investigation won't yield some great new stuff. I'm sure it will. But I just wish they'd give credit to the LAT and others who broke or championed the Curve Ball story back before it was fashionable to call out the Bush administration.


Hillary: "Pay Attention To Your Hair"

| Tue Oct. 23, 2007 6:23 PM EDT

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So I was walking past "Blow," a new salon in the MoJo hood, when I spotted this quote, attributed to Hillary Clinton, taped on the door:

I have to say that in all the years since I've been at Yale, the most important thing that I have to say today-is that hair matters. This is a life lesson my family did not teach me, Wellesley and Yale failed to instill on me: the importance of your hair. Your hair will send very important messages to those around you. It will tell people who you are and what you stand for. What hopes and dreams you have for the world…and especially what hopes and dreams you have for your hair. Likewise, your shoes. But really, more your hair. So, to sum up. Pay attention to your hair. Because everyone else will.

And I thought: That can't be real. But it is.

This isn't meant to be a slight on Hillary, btw. More just a sad commentary on the state of politics in America. More on how Hillary is judged on her looks here.

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