The Hack Gap Is Hard at Work Today

Today, the LA Times presents a great example of the hack gap. They invited a conservative and a liberal to make a list of the top 10 under-covered stories of the year.

Adam Johnson, a media analyst for FAIR, mostly wrote about things that genuinely didn’t get a lot of coverage: the South Korean peace movement, starvation in Yemen, hate crimes against transgender people, the rise in deaths at the Mexican border, and the prosecution of inauguration protestors. His items are clearly left-wing—as they’re supposed to be—but they’re all fact-based and only two of them are explicitly anti-Trump.

Then there’s Sean Davis, former CFO of the Daily Caller and former aide to Sen. Tom Coburn. His list is a little different. The Russia investigation is ridiculous! The economy is booming! The stock market is booming too! Trump crushed ISIS! The FBI is in tatters! And that’s just the first five. He also tells us that the Iran deal has collapsed; ESPN is in big trouble thanks to its “seemingly nonstop left-wing politics”; and Betsy DeVos has restored the rule of law to college campuses. You can only call these under-covered if you’ve never watched Fox News.

Bottom line: the liberal writer mostly chose stories that truly didn’t get a lot of attention,¹ and they span the gamut of potential topics. Obviously you can argue with them, but they’re all essentially fact-based. The conservative writer, conversely, just rewrote President Trump’s Twitter feed—but with a little less restraint than Trump shows.² This, ladies and gentlemen, is the hack gap at work.

¹The main exception is item 3, “President Trump’s unprecedented non-Russia corruption.” I wouldn’t call that under-covered, but it sure doesn’t seem to have really sunk in yet.

²Also with one major exception: “We still know nothing about what motivated the Vegas shooter.”

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.