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.

Full Bio | Get my RSS |

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.

 

Terror Arrest Timing: White House Spins Lamont Victory at Expense of Our Safety

| Sun Aug. 13, 2006 8:36 PM EDT

The Tattered Coat has a great post on how the Bush administration forced the timing of the recent London terror plot arrests. Analyzing reporting done by NBC and others, TTC's Matt notes:

This goes way beyond what we understood previously — that the Bush Administration knew about the arrests ahead of time, and timed a PR offensive against the Democrats around it.
It turns out that it was the other way around: the Bush Administration orchestrated the timing of the arrests to coordinate them with the PR offensive, which attacked Democrats after Ned Lamont's victory in the Connecticut primary.
For the GOP, the short-term political importance of getting the Lamont victory, and the developing sense that America had fully turned against the Iraq War, off the news was reason enough to disrupt an active terror investigation. The disruption hurt the legal case against the terrorists — it will be much harder to convict them without passports or airline tickets. The GOP was so insistent on the timing that they threatened to "render" the lead suspect if the British did not comply with their wishes.
The Republicans, in other words, once again played politics with national security, and hurt anti-terrorism efforts as they did so.
They cannot be trusted to protect us from the threat of terrorism because — to paraphrase The Downing Street Memo — they fix terror investigations around smear campaigns.

And it's not just liberal bloggers who won't be fooled again. This morning I heard a commentator on the (delightfully) sleepy show CBS Sunday Morning (the one with all the suns) say pretty much the same thing. Lyndon Johnson once said he'd knew he'd lost the country when he lost Walter Cronkite. Watch any show where reporters or anchors or pundits are allowed to deviate from the teleprompter, and it's becoming increasingly clear Bush has lost us all. Well, except for Charles Krauthammer. But then he yells at rabbis.


Advertise on MotherJones.com

Memo to Lieberman: It's the Sanctimony, Stupid

| Sun Aug. 13, 2006 1:23 PM EDT

Lost in all the discussion over to what degree Ned Lamont's victory in the Connecticut Democratic primary does or does not indicate regarding

1) public opinion on the war
2) potential for a reprise of the Eugene McCarthy split in the Democratic Party
3) anti-incumbent fervor
4) Joementum

is perhaps the real reason Lieberman lost. He's sanctimonious. And he's opportunistic about his sanctimony.

Now I have no doubt that Lieberman is a religious man, who takes his faith seriously, and that his faith does inform his politics, making him more conservative than some in the DNC on some issues. But there's a difference between piety and sanctimony. As the editorial page of the New Hampshire Concord Monitor put it:

To say that Lieberman lost merely because of his steadfast support for the war oversimplifies the case. Lieberman has a strong sense of morality that unfortunately can spill over into righteousness and sanctimony. That side came out when he harshly chastised President Clinton over his affair with an intern. It came out again in December when he issued this warning: "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be commander-in-chief for three more critical years, and in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."
Of late, Lieberman's sanctimony has reared its ugly head in his statements that Lamont voters had handed a victory to terrorists, and his self-righteous persistence in staying in the race over the wishes of his constituents and his party. Lieberman may keep his political career alive by going further down the path of sanctimony. Indeed, pundits are already speculating that if he wins as an independent and keeps his committee seats he could find himself as a key Senate tiebreaker, forcing both parties to kiss his ring.

Such an outcome would, no doubt, reinforce Lieberman's high opinion of himself. But I would argue that what Lieberman's primary loss might really augur is voter rejection of politicians who lecture us from on high, who wrap themselves in the flag and twist scripture, who are patronizing in their "trust us" statements, who offer no solutions other than their continued "leadership."

That would be a Joementum we could all get behind.

Feds Say: California and Oregon Salmon Fisheries a "Failure"

| Fri Aug. 11, 2006 11:18 AM EDT

AP's Jeff Barnard reports: "Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez on Thursday declared commercial salmon fishing a failure off Oregon and California this year, based on sharp harvest cutbacks imposed to protect struggling returns to the Klamath River."

This is, on the one hand, good news for fisherman, in that it frees up $80 million in federal aid. But it's bad news for them, as well as all the other people concerned with the plight of fisheries and the ocean (and no one more than us), because it is yet another sign marine ecosystems are crashing.

What, in this case, is to blame? Via the AP:

Gutierrez blamed five years of drought in the Klamath Basin for low water and growing infestations of parasites that are diminishing salmon returns there.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and salmon fisherman Mike Newell of Newport, a member of the Oregon Salmon Commission, blamed the problems on the failure of the Bush administration to deal with long-standing problems of poor water quality and loss of habitat in the Klamath Basin. "It's a long overdue recognition our fisheries are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy because of the lack of a viable season," DeFazio said. "We have a very sick river system that needs a significant amount of investment, or this will just happen again and again."

Both are right. As the AP's Barnard notes, "the Klamath River has been a flashpoint for conflicts between the Bush administration and farmers on one side and fishermen, Indian tribes and conservation groups on the other over allocations of scarce water between farms and fish."

In 2003, Bruce Barcott wrote a nice piece for us on the Klamath called "What's a River For?"

Cheney to Lamont: The Terrorists Have Already Won

| Fri Aug. 11, 2006 10:08 AM EDT

As if being kissed by Bush weren't enough, now Senator Joe Lieberman feels himself in the clammy embrace of Vice President Dick Cheney. Yesterday Cheney held a teleconference with reporters in which he bemoaned the fact that Democrats would "purge a man like Joe Lieberman."

"Purge"? Uh, isn't it called a "primary"? But then the Vice President always chooses his words for maximum fear factor. As the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne points out: "that word 'purge' has a nice Stalinist ring, doesn't it?"

Cheney then told reporters:

"The thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, [from] the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the Al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task."
[Is] "the dominant view of the Democratic Party"…"the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home."

And they're all on message. Yesterday GOP chair Ken Mehlman called the DNC "the Defeat-ocrat Party" … "that once stood for strength now stands for retreat and defeat."

And Tony Snow said: "It's a defining moment for the Democratic Party, whose national leaders now have made it clear that if you disagree with the extreme left in their party they're going to come after you."

And, speaking in his first public appearance since losing the primary, Lieberman used the U.K. terror arrests to call Ned Lamont's goal of withdrawing American troops from Iraq by a fixed date a "victory" for terrorists.

"If we just pick up like Ned Lamont wants us to do, get out by a date certain, it will be taken as a tremendous victory by the same people who wanted to blow up these planes in this plot hatched in England. It will strengthen them, and they will strike again."

Low blow, Joe.

Al Gore, Penguins, Global Warming, ExxonMobil, YouTube

| Thu Aug. 10, 2006 1:43 AM EDT

gorepenguins.jpgReally, we should have blogged about this a week ago. Still, it bears repeating that Antonio Regalado and Dionee Searcey of the Wall Street Journal reported that the popular YouTube video portraying Al Gore boring a few penguins with his talk on global warming appears to be the product of "DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp."

Ok, so this is insidious on a couple of levels. First, as Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, reported in a great investigative piece in Mother Jones, ExxonMobil has funded a vast array of think tanks and opinion makers (including FoxNews.com columnist Stephen Milloy) who—call it coincidence—are all major players in the debunking global warming movement. Really, it's hard to call it a movement, since as Mooney's article so clearly proves, all the major climate change debunkers receive funding from ExxonMobil.

The Gore video is just the latest example of the carefully crafted distance between those Exxon funds, and the convenient message they then spew out. To wit:

Dave Gardner, an Exxon spokesman, confirms that Exxon is a client of DCI. But he says Exxon had no role in creating the "Inconvenient Truth" spoof. "We, like everyone else on the planet, have seen it, but did not fund it, did not approve it, and did not know what its source was," Mr. Gardner says.

But as the Journal also points out:
The anti-Gore video represents a less well-known side of YouTube. As its popularity has exploded, the public video-sharing site has drawn marketers looking to build buzz for new music releases and summer blockbusters. Now, it's being tapped by political operatives, public relations experts and ad agencies to sway opinions.
Hipsters beware. (And, also, haven't the penguins been through enough lately? And in Texas, already.)

Full WSJ story after the jump.

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
Thu Jul. 9, 2009 5:24 PM EDT