Mother Jones to Lead Lefty Reporting Effort on Global Warming

A new Pew Research poll has much of the left and the mainstream media in a bit of a panic. And at least several media outlets are about to try something new to address it.  

With cap-and-trade legislation stalled in Congress and an important climate change summit coming up in Copenhagen in December, Americans just aren’t as convinced as they should be that a) there’s evidence the planet is warming (57 percent), b) that warming is a serious problem (35 percent) and c) that humans cause it (36 percent). All those numbers have fallen significantly from their peak a couple of years ago.

Luckily, a there’s no shortage of “journalists” standing up to fight this deplorable trend. Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, co-editors of the left-wing magazine Mother Jones, announced on the publication’s Web site that “we’re forging a collaboration with a range of news organizations – magazines, online news sites, nonprofit reporting shops, multimedia operations.’ The purpose? To “synthesize disparate data points” and coordinate coverage of “the most important story of our time.”

Further down, the editors wrote:

We're also part of a team reporting effort focused on the critical Copenhagen talks; visit MotherJones.com for details. And while you're there, create your own climate message: You can make a Mother Jones cover featuring a picture of your child (or grandkid/nephew/cat), add a note [imploring action on global warming], and send it to your friends, your members of Congress, and your president. We'll feature them on our site.

In an interview with Advertising Age, Jeffrey said the “likely participants at the initial meeting will likely include Slate, Grist, The Atlantic, Wired, Pro Publica, the Center for Investigative Reporting, MoJo of course, and maybe one or two others.”

That’s an interesting lineup. Pro Publica calls itself an “independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.” According to its Web site, it does its reporting “in an entirely non-partisan and non-ideological manner, adhering to the strictest standards of journalistic impartiality. We won’t lobby. We won’t ally with politicians or advocacy groups.” Of course, Pro Publica was also “funded with an initial $10-million grant from The Sandler Foundation” according to a blog run by the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. The Sandler Foundation is known for funding liberal causes.

In explaining the initiative for Mother Jones’ readers, Bauerlein and Jeffery wrote of global warming, “Without drastic action, by the time our kids reach their 40s, the Southwest will have become a dust bowl; 30 percent of the planet's species will be extinct; 200 million people will have become climate refugees.” The problem is of such importance that “Our kids will measure us by how long we tarried. What will we tell them?”

That sounds suspiciously like the language of an advocacy group, rather than journalists, but maybe Pro Publica has no ear for the Orwellian. No word on whether the independent journalists at Pro Publica get complimentary Mother Jones climate change covers with their kids’ pictures on them.

Asked about how the collaboration will work, Jeffrey told Advertising Age, “It remains to be seen – and much is dependent on how much money can be raised – whether there will be all-in group reporting projects, side collaborations amid partners, more of a blog carnival approach, a group feed – likely any and all of those combinations.”
Matthew Philbin
Matthew Philbin
Matt Philbin is Managing Editor of MRC Culture