Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery

Editor in Chief

Since taking the editorial helm at Mother Jones in late 2006, Clara and her co-editor, Monika Bauerlein, have won two National Magazine Awards for general excellence, relaunched MotherJones.com, founded a now 13-person Washington bureau, won a PEN award for editing, given birth, and forgotten what it's like to sleep. It probably doesn't help she's on Twitter so much.

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Clara Jeffery is co-editor 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.

 

Media on Foley: Bloggers vs. Old Media

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 1:24 AM EDT

So amid this story about how various mainstream media outlets (among them the St. Petersburg Times, the Miami Herald, and NBC's Brian Ross) were alerted to the Foley situation months ago and chose not to run with it, is the source of what eventually prodded the capital P Press to pick up the story: Stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.

Despite three days of full-court press coverage, this website is still something of a mystery (though one that may be solved by the time I wake up tomorrow). It began in July, and has had just a handful of posts, most of them Foley related.

Conservative bloggers like Americanthinker wonder, as do I, what/who is behind SSP—or more to the point, how it/they managed to push this story out. Notes Tom Maquire at Justoneminute

And yet, 3 separate people who had contact with Congressman Foley somehow found this website independent of one another and supposedly sent emails to the owner of this site to complain about Foley's inappropriate behavior.
Color me skeptical. Maybe the blog author was an unwitting catspaw, but I would want some assurance that this was not simply a successful attempt to promote a story that wasn't quite ready for the Mainstream Media by laundering it through some blogs.

Which is an interesting point, as is the (gasp!) notion that Foley's opponent helped to push out the story, though then Tom veers off into a heady mixture of denial and desperation. Make no mistake, when confronted with the IMs, Foley instantly folded up the tent and went to rehab, which he wouldn't have if he could have denied or somehow justified the correspondence.

Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Times editor's note on why the paper didn't run with the story—detailing valid concerns as: we don't go with unnamed allegations, amid some waffling—can be found here.

In a nutshell, this looks to be as interesting a media story as a political one.

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Polls Find Dems Have Good Chance to Take Senate (If They Can Get Out the Vote)

| Tue Oct. 3, 2006 12:15 AM EDT

What follows is an NBC analysis:

"Five weeks out from the midterm elections, MSNBC/McClatchy polls, conducted by Mason-Dixon in eight states, show Democrats are in striking distance of taking control of the Senate. The Democrats are very likely to gain several Senate seats with some races still rated as toss-ups.

In the Senate, Democrats need to gain six seats to regain control of the chamber. Our polls show that this is certainly possible as five races are toss-ups, one now narrowly shows a gain for Democrats -- Pennsylvania -- and the party maintains control of Sen. Maria Cantwell's Senate seat in Washington. In addition, other Mason-Dixon polls released Sunday indicate trouble for Republicans in three other GOP-held seats.

•In Pennsylvania, incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum is well behind his challenger Bob Casey, with Casey currently ahead by 9 percentage points, 49 percent to 40 percent, with 10percent undecided.
• In Rhode Island, incumbent Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse are in a virtual tie with Whitehouse supported by 42 percent of likely voters compared to Chafee's 41 percent. But there are still 1 7percent undecided.
• In Virginia, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen, whose campaign has recently been plagued with public gaffes and charges of the candidate as racist, and his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, are tied with 43 percent each and 12 percent undecided.
• In Missouri, incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Talent and Democrat Claire McCaskill are tied with 43 percent each and 13 percent still undecided.
• In New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez is in a virtual tie with his Republican challenger, Tom Kean, Jr., with 44 percent of likely voters supporting Menendez and 41 percent supporting Kean. There are still 13 percent undecided.
• In Washington, incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell leads Republican challenger Mike McGavick by 10 percentage points, 50 percent to 40 percent, with 9percent undecided.
• In Maryland, Democratic candidate Ben Cardin is leading his Republican opponent, Michael Steele, 47 percent to 41 percent, with 12 percent of voters still undecided.

And in other Mason-Dixon polls, Democrats seem well positioned to gain seats:

• In Ohio, a Plain Dealer poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine and Democrat Sherrod Brown in a virtual tie, 43 percent for DeWine to 45 percent for Brown. There are 10 percent undecided in this race.
•In Montana, a Lee Newspaper poll shows incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns trailing Democratic challenger Jon Tester by a 40 percent to 47 percent margin with 10 percent undecided.
• In Tennessee, a poll conducted for the Memphis Commercial Appeal Chattanooga Free Press shows Harold Ford, Jr. and Bob Corker in a virtual tie, 43 percent for Ford to 42 percent for Corker with 14 percent still undecided.

In all, these key Senate races show the following:

• Two Republican incumbents in very serious trouble, Burns and Santorum.
• Four Republican incumbents tied with their challengers, Chaffee, Allen, Talent, and DeWine.
• One Democratic incumbent tied with his challenger, Menendez.
• One Democratic incumbent with a real lead, Cantwell.
• One Democratic open seat with a Democrat in the lead, Cardin in Maryland.
• One Republican open seat with a tie, Tennessee.

The results show that the Democrats have a real chance of gaining control of the Senate. However, as the election approaches, Democrats may have to lead by significant amounts to counteract the well-funded Republican get-out-the-vote effort. And almost every toss up seat needs to break for the Democrats for them to gain the six seats that they need."

The Full Monty: Foley IM File

| Mon Oct. 2, 2006 10:22 PM EDT

ABC has published one of the IM messages a former Congressional page says he had with Rep. Foley in 2003. If you want to read the whole thing, go here. I include the relatively non obscene passage below to note that Foley is in real legal trouble, as perhaps only he is well aware. As his own website notes (it has been taken down, but ah the beauty of the wayback machine), Foley was the author of several anti-child pornography/explotation bills. (More on that can be found on a cached version of a Foley press release.)

Which makes the following all the more sick:


Maf54 [that's Foley's screen name] (8:09:44 PM): thats a great size

Xxxxxxxxx (8:10:00 PM): thank you

Maf54 (8:10:22 PM): still stiff

Xxxxxxxxx (8:10:28 PM): ya

Maf54 (8:10:40 PM): take it out

Xxxxxxxxx (8:10:54 PM): brb...my mom is yelling

Maf54 (8:11:06 PM): ok

Xxxxxxxxx (8:14:02 PM): back

Maf54 (8:14:37 PM): cool hope se didnt see any thing

Xxxxxxxxx (8:14:54 PM): no no

Xxxxxxxxx (8:14:59 PM): she is computer dumb though

Xxxxxxxxx (8:15:01 PM): it makes me so mad

Maf54 (8:15:04 PM): good

Maf54 (8:15:08 PM): haha

Some of the bills that Foley wrote/sponsored/pimped himself as part of have faced constitutional challenges, but might be possible that Foley falls prey to legislation that he himself wrote! Talk about justice.

Condi Busted on Her Own Personal State of Denial

| Mon Oct. 2, 2006 9:36 PM EDT

A few hours ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that she can't recall then-CIA chief George Tenet warning her (two months before 9/11) that an Al Qaeda attack within the United States was impending, as Bob Woodward's State of Denial claims that Tenet did.

"What I am quite certain of is that I would remember if I was told, as this account apparently says, that there was about to be an attack in the United States, and the idea that I would somehow have ignored that I find incomprehensible," Rice said.

But now we learn (via the NYT):

A review of White House records has determined that George J. Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, did brief Condoleezza Rice and other top officials on July 10, 2001, about the looming threat from Al Qaeda, a State Department spokesman said Monday.
The account by Sean McCormack came hours after Ms. Rice, the secretary of state, told reporters aboard her airplane that she did not recall the specific meeting on July 10, 2001, noting that she had met repeatedly with Mr. Tenet that summer about terrorist threats. Ms. Rice, the national security adviser at the time, said it was "incomprehensible" she ignored dire terrorist threats two months before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. McCormack also said records show that the Sept. 11 commission was informed about the meeting, a fact that former intelligence officials and members of the commission confirmed on Monday.
Whoops.

Women In Science and Engineering Stymied By Institutional Bias (Or, F*** Off, Larry Summers!)

| Tue Sep. 19, 2006 11:13 AM EDT

At a ASJA/Berkeley J-School editors' forum I participated in last weekend, a hotly debated topic was what biases do or do not hinder women in journalism, particularly in terms of the byline divide.

So I was shocked, shocked! to read that a report from the National Academy of Sciences has found that women in the science and engineering are hindered not by lack of ability but by bias and "outmoded institutional structures" in academia.

The NAS report found:

Studies have not found any significant biological differences between men and women in performing science and mathematics that can account for the lower representation of women in academic faculty and leadership positions in S&T fields.

Compared with men, women faculty members are generally paid less and promoted more slowly, receive fewer honors, and hold fewer leadership positions. These discrepancies do not appear to be based on productivity, the significance of their work, or any other performance measures, the report says.

•Measures of success underlying performance-evaluation systems are often arbitrary and frequently applied in ways that place women at a disadvantage. "Assertiveness," for example, may be viewed as a socially unacceptable trait for women but suitable for men. Also, structural constraints and expectations built into academic institutions assume that faculty members have substantial support from their spouses. Anyone lacking the career and family support traditionally provided by a "wife" is at a serious disadvantage in academe, evidence shows. Today about 90 percent of the spouses of women science and engineering faculty are employed full time. For the spouses of male faculty, it is nearly half.

You can read the news release here.

And—for a hefty fee that really pisses me off seeing as the whole point of something like this is to challenge disinformation with easily accessible truth—download the full report here. (Should someone find a site where this is posted for free, let me know and I'll pass it on.)

And you can read more about how women are stymied in other ways in "Limited Ambition: Why Women Can't Win for Trying" a set of stats I put together for Mother Jones earlier this year.

BTW: The NYT saw fit to run the story about the NAS report in the Science section, which is fine, except why do all those bullshitty (statistically and otherwise) stories about women "opting out" always run on page 1?

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