Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
No, that's not true, Dick Cheney urging Sarah Palin to campaign for president—at least, as far as I know. But now that I have your attention, I'm going to hit you up for a couple of bucks.
If you're reading this, you already know that 2009 was a tough year for the media. Notice I said "the media," not "journalism." Newspapers and magazines have been taking multiple hits. The economic downturn created a crash in ad revenues, and the continuing rise of (free) online media has undercut the traditional business model (paying for news and information). All this has led news outfits to lay off reporters, downsize their products, and scale back their ambitions. Still, there's plenty of quality journalism going on. And I'm pleased to say, we in the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones, are doing our share.
This past year, we've broken stories on the Tea Party movement, the Birthers, the Copenhagen climate talks, Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation, President Barack Obama's Afghanistan policy, the Animal House-like antics of private military contractors, a top Treasury Department aide who once tried to kill an Obama initiative to restrain CEO pay, the appointment of a former lobbyist for an Enron-like firm to a key financial watchdog position, former congressional aides lobbying for Big Finance, the big secret kept by the health insurance industry's top official, the public option's No. 1 enemy, the missing Bush White House emails, the disappearance of Bush administration torture documents, Bush's former UN ambassador appearing to back an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran, the Watergate tapes, and yes, Palin and Cheney.
Unfortunately, all this good journalism doesn't come cheap. Mother Jones has bucked the tide by expanding its Washington bureau and setting its reporters loose on the nation's capital. That costs money. (Note to self: here's an idea for a New Yorker cartoon—a reporter stands in front of the Washington Post building and holds a sign, "Will break news for food.")
If you appreciate this sort of journalism, please support us. That means sending money. It can be $5 or $10. But we will accept more. We're trying to plug a hole in our budget, and every little bit counts.
I know things are tight for most people. But if you've read this far, you probably give a damn about independent, kick-ass journalism and recognize its importance, especially as politicians in Washington and citizens across the nation contend with some of the hardest and most complicated challenges that have ever faced the country. These days we need strong journalism more than ever.
Spare us some of your hard-earned dough, and we'll put it to good use, pursuing the important stories in Washington—and elsewhere—that need to be told. Heck, it's easy. You can donate via a credit card or through PayPal.
Increasingly, the fate of journalism is in the hands of people like you. It's quite simple; with your help, we can continue to produce quality journalism and shape the debate in Washington and beyond. The more money we receive from supporters, the more muck we can rake. And there's always plenty of muck in DC. So as you're making all those resolutions for 2010, help us keep our only one: to practice the kind of independent reporting the nation needs in the coming year. Or think of it this way: Cheney, Palin, and many others will be quite happy if you don't.