Americans Are Doing OK, But America Is Going to Hell

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


I don’t suppose I really have a lot to say about this, but perhaps we can file it under the widespread belief that “America is going to hell but things are OK in my neck of the woods.”

It’s from the AP/Times Square Alliance poll, which is primarily interested in whether you plan to watch the Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve. However, they also asked how things went in 2015. Answer: Personally, more people thought it was better than 2014 than thought it was worse. But for the country, way more people thought it was worse than 2014.

This dynamic—I’m doing OK but the rest of the country is going to hell—is so widespread that it’s hard not to blame the media for it. Is that fair? Or is it just something about human nature? In either case, it’s kind of crazy. Not only was 2015 as good or better than 2014 for a huge majority, but optimism was high too: an even bigger majority thought 2016 would be better yet. But for America as a whole, far more people thought 2015 was worse than thought it was better. It’s hard for me to think of any important metric by which 2015 was worse than 2014, but apparently mass shootings and terrorist attacks weighed heavily on everyone. Those were, by far, the news stories that everyone rated the most important.

So how was your 2015?

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.