We’re (Still) Fundraising to Put a Stop to Weaponized Disinformation

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Many of you already saw this on Friday, but just in case you never got around to clicking through I want to share again this headline from the front page of Friday’s LA Times:

Russian inquiry losing public support
Trump’s frequent attacks seem to be eroding confidence in the Mueller probe among Republicans

It’s not just due to Trump’s frequent attacks, of course. It’s Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson at Fox News. It’s Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal. It’s Devin Nunes in the House of Representatives. It’s Breitbart and Andrew McCarthy and Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs. They are, collectively, the vanguard of a new movement dedicated not just to partisan spin, but to the outright invention of a fake reality that they repeat over and over and over until their audience starts thinking there must be something to it. And as Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery point out, it all started back in 2016:

There are many things we know about the 2016 campaign now that we didn’t know then—or rather, that you, the public, weren’t told … Big tech companies knew about their platforms being used for propaganda … Intelligence agencies knew a foreign adversary was attacking election infrastructure, campaigns, and individuals … Congress stood idly by … The nation’s biggest media organizations too often fell into a rut of sensationalism and he-said-she-said false equivalency.

Together, these failures opened the door wide to the biggest threat our democracy may have ever faced: Weaponized disinformation. That’s the thread connecting them all, and the one running straight into 2018.

As we’ve been thinking here at MoJo about what we need to do to tell this year’s most important stories—the ones that others might be missing—we keep coming back to this fact. We can’t wait until a week from Election Day to find out who’s trying to manipulate the outcome. We need to investigate and expose them before it’s too late.

So that’s what we’re doing. We’re hoping to build a team dedicated to identifying and tracking the forces behind disinformation, and we’ve started a new fundraising campaign to get it started.

It’s hard to think of anything more important. Weaponized disinformation is the Big Lie. It’s what intimidated the FBI into helping elect Donald Trump. And it’s a coordinated effort to erase the ability of a free press to do its job.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation. We hope to raise $350,000 before June 30—$250,000 to meet our budget, and an extra $100,000 to get this special project off the ground. There’s no better cause. Or, if money is tight, click here to find out other ways you can help.

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

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