Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery


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.

Full Bio | Get my RSS |

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.


Senators Tell ExxonMobil to Stop Funding Climate Change Deniers (A Story Mother Jones Broke)

| Mon Oct. 30, 2006 4:45 PM EST

In the summer of 2005, Mother Jones ran a huge investigative piece by Chris Mooney (author of the Republican War on Science) about how ExxonMobil funds a vast array of think-tanks and special interest groups that promote climate change denial.

And now, according to ABC, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va) have written to ExxonMobil demanding that the company "stop funding groups that have spread the idea that global warming is a myth and that try to influence policymakers to adopt that view."

In their letter to ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson, Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., appealed to Exxon's sense of corporate responsibility, asking the company to "come clean about its past denial activities." The two senators called on ExxonMobil to "end any further financial assistance" to groups "whose public advocacy has contributed to the small but unfortunately effective climate change denial myth."

Remember folks, you heard it here first.

The ABC story also notes that the "letter comes as dozens of major U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart, Citigroup and GE — get set to gather in New York next week for the Corporate Climate Response conference. The conference provides a forum for companies to discuss their efforts to address global warming, a topic getting increased attention in boardrooms across the United States.

And so the cover package we have in the current issue could not be better timed. One part is a story by Julia Whitty that asks when humans will get past denial and deal with climate change, and lessons humanity can learn from other species about how cooperation is the key to survival. And the other is a multi-story package on corporate responsibility, which takes a hard look at what part of the movement is just spin and what part is substance. (For a taste, check out Bill McKibben's "Hype vs. Hope: Is Corporate Do-Goodery for Real?".)

Advertise on

Aye, Caracas!

| Mon Oct. 30, 2006 4:01 PM EST

So let me get this straight. Diebold, an electronic voting machine company with spotty record run by extremely partisan Republican and major Bush contributor, not a problem.

Virginia electronic voting machines, made by Hart InterCivic, that just happen to cut off the name of the Democratic candidate in three of the most liberal areas of the state, not a problem. (Or a problem that's not fixable until after the election, according to the Virginia board of elections. And wasn't the whole point of electronic voting machines supposed to be that such problems could be simply reprogrammed…but I digress.)

What's the electronic voting machine scandal that makes the front of the New York Times and all the nightly newscasts? The implication that Sequoia, an American voting machine company that has Venezuelan investors, must naturally be under the influence of lefty strongman Hugo "el Diablo" Chavez.

Do we really think that Hugo Chavez's master plan to take over the world involves a multi-year complicated strategy of corporate mergers?

At least now that the right-wing conspiracy theorists are as agitated about electronic voting machines as those on the left, real reform might be possible.

(For more on disenfranchisement by machine, check out Sasha Abramsky's Mother Jones article: "Just Try Voting Here: 11 of America's Worst Places to Cast a Ballot (or Try)," and plus this fun cartoon by Marc Rosenthal. And for more regarding Sequoia and electronic voting machines, check out Brad Blog.)

Tennessee RNC Attack Ad Pulled: Blame Canada?

| Thu Oct. 26, 2006 8:08 PM EDT

What got that racist anti Harold Ford attack ad pulled off the air? Was it complaints from NAACP? The DNC? Or was it our neighbors to the north? This, from a Canadian news station:

It's not often Canadians care about who's running for the U.S. Senate. But when we figure prominently in one of those quintessential American-style attack ads, nearly everyone on this side of the border sits up and takes notice.
A fierce fight between a Tennessee Republican candidate and his Democratic opponent has gotten personal - and Canada is right in the middle of it.
The controversial commercial from right wing candidate Bob Corker attacks a man named Harold Ford. It features supposedly ordinary citizens commenting on the Democrat, indicating he'll increase taxes and take guns out of the hands of residents, two huge issues in the south. There's also a shot of a rather questionable young woman who claims she's spent time with Ford at "The Playboy Club". But it's the next statement that seems to have rankled many. It comes from a comment made about some recent controversial nuclear tests.
"Canada can take care of North Korea," a man who resembles a young Wilfrid Brimley jokes. "They're not busy." The suggestion that we aren't pulling our weight in the world - and the fact that we've lost 42 soldiers in Afghanistan - is never mentioned.
The commercial, which has already been part of an equally nasty campaign between Ford and Corker, has been the subject of a protest by Canada's Ambassador to the U.S. And that complaint has apparently led to action.
Officials in Tennessee have agreed to pull the offending advertisement. But the U.S. Ambassador to this country has a response to our anger. He notes Canadian ads during the last election treated U.S. President George Bush with far more contempt and no one really issued any major complaints about those.

Sic Semper Tyrannis: What Does it Mean to be a Virginian? (Allen, Webb, and Robert E. Lee)

| Tue Oct. 24, 2006 2:44 AM EDT

The occasion for this post is that George Allen still slightly leads Jim Webb in the latest poll for the Virginia Senate race. I find this profoundly depressing, and not so much as the editor of a progressive magazine, but as a Virginian.

To be clear, this is my exact pedigree: I was born in Baltimore and raised in Virginia, Northern Virginia—and nowhere else is that modifier so loaded—in Arlington, to be precise. Arlington is, of course, home to the most famous National Cemetery, which was so enshrined when President Lincoln decided to bury Civil War dead in Mrs. Lee's rose garden so that the Lees could never again reside in their home, which was just across the river from Washington. It was a very personal decision: Lincoln had asked Lee to lead the Union army, but the General felt that if the country was going to divide itself, he would stand with his state.

Those who are determined to preserve Lee's godliness above all, will, if they are equality minded, point out that he was no particular defender of slavery; it was a matter of honor, the highest sacrifice on the altar of states' rights. Maybe so, maybe not—anyway, 140-odd years have past, who cares?

Except, except, except…George Allen, whose pandering, or worse, to the meanest level of racism, masquerading as Southern Pride, has occurred in the year 2006. I don't hold him to account for using the word nigger in the 60s and 70s. I have no doubt that he did so, if only because I challenge any American—black, white, or other—to say they've never used the word, in joke, in anger, out of truly felt prejudice. But here's the rub with Allen. He hides behind regional pride (read: small-mindedness), when in fact he's not of the region. Allen grew up in southern California, where, to be sure, racial relations have hardly been stellar, but where a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s would have surely been, had he so been inclined, exposed to a more enlightened view of others. And nothing is more disgusting than someone from a different part of the country taking on the trappings of the worst of the region to which they move—and if that adaptation is designed to pander to the basest level of the American electorate, it is worse still.

A 19-year old Allen using the N-word amongst teammates is one thing. Tossing off racial prejudices at a 2006 campaign rally, having a noose in office, and the many other indicators that Allen is at best the lowest form of political life, is another. He is either an unreconstructed bigot who is too stupid to think he'll be caught at his bigotry, or, worse, a base politician who designs to influence voters by the fallen angels of our nature.

It is worth recalling that, after the Civil War, Lee argued that a tone of reconciliation and patience would further the interests of white Southerners. Here's the Wikipedia version: "He repeatedly expelled white students from Washington College for violent attacks on local black men, and publicly urged obedience to the authorities and respect for law and order. In 1869-70 he was a leader in successful efforts to establish state-funded schools for blacks. He privately chastised fellow ex-Confederates such as Jefferson Davis and Jubal Early for their frequent, angry responses to perceived Northern insults, writing in private to them as he had written to a magazine editor in 1865, that 'It should be the object of all to avoid controversy, to allay passion, give full scope to reason and to every kindly feeling. By doing this and encouraging our citizens to engage in the duties of life with all their heart and mind, with a determination not to be turned aside by thoughts of the past and fears of the future, our country will not only be restored in material prosperity, but will be advanced in science, in virtue and in religion.'"

Amen. Bigots like Allen hurt the long-term interests of the state I love. Virginia is for lovers, not haters. Sic Semper Tyrannis means "Thus Always to Tyrants." It is the state motto. Bigotry is the worst form of tyranny.

Kerry says he deserves 2nd chance in '08

| Sun Oct. 15, 2006 3:25 PM EDT

The AP reports: "The Massachusetts Democrat, who lost to President Bush in 2004, said it is a basic principle that 'Americans give people a second chance. And if you learn something and prove you've learned something, maybe even more so. Now, I don't know what I'm going to do yet. We'll make that decision down the road.'"

Transcript here.

Wed Aug. 13, 2014 10:58 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 12, 2013 8:40 PM EDT
Mon Feb. 18, 2013 12:02 AM EST
Fri Apr. 27, 2012 2:00 AM EDT
Sat Feb. 4, 2012 4:34 PM EST
Mon Jan. 23, 2012 10:50 PM EST
Sun Oct. 16, 2011 2:25 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 21, 2011 4:47 PM EDT
Tue May. 3, 2011 2:19 AM EDT
Fri Feb. 4, 2011 4:00 AM EST
Mon Oct. 25, 2010 5:00 AM EDT
Mon Apr. 19, 2010 2:00 AM EDT
Tue Jan. 19, 2010 12:21 AM EST
Mon Jan. 18, 2010 5:40 PM EST
Sat Jan. 16, 2010 12:06 AM EST
Wed Dec. 30, 2009 5:33 AM EST
Thu Dec. 24, 2009 11:49 AM EST
Mon Dec. 7, 2009 3:16 AM EST
Fri Oct. 23, 2009 6:25 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 23, 2009 2:01 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 9, 2009 9:51 PM EDT
Wed Sep. 9, 2009 6:35 PM EDT
Fri Aug. 28, 2009 5:20 PM EDT
Wed Aug. 19, 2009 11:46 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 13, 2009 5:08 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 13, 2009 1:39 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 11, 2009 1:12 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 11, 2009 6:00 AM EDT
Sat Aug. 8, 2009 1:16 PM EDT
Thu Aug. 6, 2009 1:36 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 4, 2009 6:01 PM EDT
Tue Aug. 4, 2009 3:36 PM EDT
Sun Aug. 2, 2009 10:09 PM EDT
Wed Jul. 29, 2009 7:14 PM EDT