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David Corn's Reddit AMA: The Full Questions and Answers

Our DC bureau chief, who broke the Mitt Romney donor-video story, met the 'net Friday afternoon. Got a question for him?

| Fri Sep. 21, 2012 9:22 AM EDT

18) Pragmaticus asked:
David, you're on Hardball enough that you're practically Chris Matthews' co-host. Do you socialize together off the air?
Answer: Highballs at Morton's every evening.....Just kidding. After the show is done, we tend to hurry out to our respective homes to be with the families....I will say this: it's truly a treat to work with Chris--even when we disagree. He's high-energy and damn smart and cares about politics because he cares about the policy outcomes that are produced. It's a lot of fun to be part of the Hardball team.

19) erikgrad asked:
Has Mother Jones been keeping tabs on the story of the Romney tax "hacker" who claims to have walked into PwC, and easily made copies of his tax forms? They were claiming to potentially be releasing them next Friday if their ransom was not met. I have seen very little coverage of it beyond it's first mention in the news.
Answer: News to me. Maybe she or he can send them to Mother Jones.

20) Dizzy_Slip asked:
What's your absolute strangest exchange/interview with a high-profile politico? Did you come to doubt the person's sanity?
That's an out-of-the-box question. A long time ago, I caught Colin Powell giving contradictory (and sworn) testimony in the Iran-contra case--that is, he made a false statement under oath--and I asked his spokesperson about this and received such a confusing and incomprehensible reply that it was practically unprintable. I think I had to note that this was not a typo.

21) red321red321 asked:
Is there anything about the leaked Romney fundraising video that the media did not tell us about that you can reveal to reddit?
Answer: During the brief gap, Romney said, "I buried Paul."

22) Cyborgkitten asked:
David! You're one of my favorite MSNBC contributors. Whose show is the most fun? I'd have to imagine hanging with Martin Bashir or Lawrence O'Donnell would be fun because they just get brutally honest.
Answer: I can't play favorites. I enjoy working with all the hosts. What is fun is that they each have their own styles, and as a guest you have to roll with that.

23) sjorgs122 asked:
I'm a huge fan of Mother Jones and was stoked that you guys got the Romney video story first - really high quality journalism. I have a question as an aspiring investigative journalist: what are the pros/cons of working for a non-profit media outlet like Mother Jones? Also, any advice for me? I'm about to graduate college and, although I've had some great internships, would love some tips about how to differentiate myself from all the other wannabe journalist college grads.
Answer: Not too late to go to med school!.....Thanks for the kind words about MJ. In the past few years, I've seen more pros than cons in working for a nonprofit. We were able to weather some of the tough economic times by appealing to the generosity of our readers and supporters and received donations from them. That was not something the NY Times could do. It had to turn to a Mexican billionaire. (But I am glad that worked out.) As for advice, it's hard for me to know what to say. The media landscape is so different from when I started out in this business and Teddy Roosevelt was president. The best and only way to differentiate yourself is the quality of your work. Find an internship or job that will give you the opportunity to do something grand--or do it on your own time. I do believe in this biz quality does stand out--well, at least some of the time.

24) uriman asked:
Why do you think the source selected MJ rather than any other news outlet?
Answer: The source was familiar--or became familiar--with my earlier reporting on Romney and Bain's investments, particular in companies involved in outsourcing, and that, I was told, was one reason the source was willing to talk to me initially.

25) IgnazSemmelweis asked:
Mr. Corn,
I am a subscriber and fan of Mother Jones and wish I had discovered it years ago.
With that out of the way;
What are your feelings on how your organization was attacked after releasing the "47%" tapes, especially by pundits on FOX News?
Do you think that behavior like this is just a sign of the times, or an indication of larger issues?
Thank you and keep up the great work.
Answer: The great thing about this story, I keep saying, is that everyone is free to watch the video and reach their own conclusions, unfiltered. So the attacks really don't matter. They are predictable and inconsequential. Just ask Mitt Romney.

26) mbritt74 asked:
How do you feel about partisanship in the media today? Do you feel like Mother Jones contributes neutral facts? Is old school, honest journalism lost?
Answer: For me, the issue is not bias in the media, but accuracy. Mother Jones does embody a set of values--the progressive tradition. But we are dedicated to accuracy. (Our factchecking process is really a pain-in-the-rear, believe me!) To me, that's the key.

27) bickering_fool asked:
Can I get your views on the Columbia University insistence this last week of a “planetary emergency” due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt.
Answer: We are fools to ignore this.

28) jbcorny asked:
How has 'business as usual' changed at MJ in the past 2 weeks?
What kind of impact has the tape had on MJ web traffic and subscriptions?
Answer: We're still working on the next round of articles--but perhaps with a greater bounce in our step, after all the traffic and support that has poured in. Coincidentally, my book on the Obama White House: SHOWDOWN: The Inside Story of How Obama Battled the GOP To Set Up the 2012 Election, came out this week in paperback, and this has not been unhelpful in promoting that.
See here:
More self-promotion: you can follow me on twitter at @davidcorndc

29) tundey_1 asked:
Why did you release the video now? If you are as in the tank as Fox News says you are, why not wait and make it a true October surprise?
Answer: Well, I guess Fox News got that wrong. How shocking. I put this story out as soon as I could, after spending a great deal of time authenticating the tape and preparing the video clips to show full context.

30) seymour1 asked:
Big fan here. Love your work. Congrats on the huge story. Most of my questions have already been asked so I'll just ask, how well do you know Rachel Maddow? Is she as awesome as she seems on TV?
Answer: She once invited me to go fishing, and I couldn't make it. But I really, really would like to go fishing with her.

31) yunododat asked:
I know y'all are getting attention for breaking this story, but I just wanted to thank the MoJo staff, (especially if you can pass this on to Mac McClellan [sic?]) for the only legitimate and powerful coverage regarding the BP oil spill.
My family still resides on the gulf coast, and their livelihoods, though not directly related to the ocean, were thrown into disarray. Without MoJo, I don't think they would have known the true impact.
That's all.
Answer: You got it. Mac is great.

32) frogger_is_dead asked:
David, do you ever think of interrupting Chris? Ya know, just to turn the tables on him for once?
Answer: It's called Hardball with Chris Matthews.

33) jwoodsutk asked:
How do you feel about Fox News dismissing your ridiculously outdated 4-month old video and pushing their 14 year-old video of Obama?
Answer: I'm shocked, shocked.

34) Bronbowser asked:
In retrospect, would you have presented the Middle East clip differently?
Answer: I don't think so--except to prevent silly criticism. See here:

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