Just the Facts, George


Jeanne of Body and Soul nicely sums up yesterday’s Senate spectacle, in which, British MP George Galloway dressed-down Norm Coleman:

I think Galloway’s testimony was inspiring — and, although it’s not the whole thing, you really have to watch the video to get the full effect — precisely because he didn’t bitch-slap, knock down, bowl over, slay, or roll anyone. That kind of triumphalism — the “victory orgies,” as Barbara O’Brien, who is so good at tracking these things, calls them — is essential if the facts aren’t with you, and you can only win by scoring cheap points here and there. Pulling off a sharp insult. Twisting a fact to good effect. Bullying the messengers into parroting your message. Ha! We win!

But what Galloway did was the exact opposite. The rhetoric was good; the anaphora compelling. It helped that he had an empty suit like Norm Coleman for a foil. But it all worked because of the shock of hearing a political figure sit there and tell truth after truth after truth. Not a small truth buried in a ton of lies. Truth upon truth.

And that goes regardless of what you think of Galloway personally (I’m not high on him myself). Anyway, I’m bringing this up partly because Nat Hentoff makes a good point about the current judiciary battle in the Village Voice today. The “zingers” against Bush nominee Janice Rogers Browns have often made for good soundbites and sharp insults—Harry Reid said, “She is a woman who wants to take us back to the Civil War days”—but ultimately they’re not all true. There are other, perfectly legitimate reasons to oppose Brown’s nomination, which Ramesh Ponnuru in the National Review has been outlining—namely, that she doesn’t believe in precedent and thinks the Constitution can be scrapped if some “higher law” beckons—that also has the virtue of being true. I know there’s a camp of liberals who say you just can’t reason with the opposition, that we need our own set of hacks to match theirs, but I think Galloway showed yesterday the bare facts can be just as forceful.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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