Logrolling in Our Times

Peeking into the pork barrel of political magazines

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In today’s political arena, holding office is just a time-consuming distraction from the real task of running for office. After all, only perpetual campaigning can overcome rampant voter apathy and ever increasing industry competition. Political magazines are faced with essentially the same challenges, except their “elections” happen for them every time a new issue hits the newsstands.

Best cover line The vision thing Community outreach program The requisite intermedia mudslinging Gratuitous celebrity cross-promotion Blatant pandering
The Nation “Starr’s Grand Jury Abuses” “E.L. Godkin, the first Nation editor, is credited with being the first writer to use quotation marks to indicate skeptical irony.” Caribbean cruise where you can watch Nation columnists venomously snipe at each other in person rather than just in print. “On the much discussed matter of CNN’s wounded ‘credibility,’ the network has almost always whored for the Pentagon, shamelessly relaying its lies and evasions.” Two poems about 1998’s Most Intriguing Personality, Monica Lewinsky’s semen-stained dress. See left.
Mother Jones “Women and Booze” Make it look more like George: “Our redesign is based on the idea that crucial information and its presentation must amount to more than mere data — it should dare to be engaging.” Gourmet utility consumers who choose Green Mountain Energy Resources’ new “electricity blend” get a free subscription. You’re reading it. Four photos of probable voter Gillian Anderson. Big photo of drunken, bikini-clad coed with Miller beer box stuck over her postfeminist head.
George “Top 10 Funniest Politicians” Aims to be a lightweight piece of fluff you really shouldn’t read, but do: “…we don’t want this issue to be…some weighty tome you really should read but never do.” Special naked editor pull-out centerfold poster. (Not yet implemented.) “Over the years, CNN staffers have groused that the network’s bland, unsophisticated look has hurt ratings.” Four-page spread on obscure South African starlet who seems (understandably) confused about who’s interviewing her: “South Africans don’t have sexy presidents covered in People,” she says. “Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg traded her judicial robes for her party clothes.”
National Review “Al Gore’s Bogus Global Warming Crusade” “I have a dream. Suppose we wake up on New Year’s Day 2000 and find that the computers are right — it really is 1900.” Caribbean cruise where you can indulge in complimentary Hennessey and Montecruz cigars — and kiss William F. Buckley’s mottled patrician ass. “The online magazine Salon — generally an echochamber for the White House line — outlines the anti-Silberman case in detail.” WFB “Well, we were having the nicest time…when who sits down with us but WFB! I thought your father would faint!”
American Spectator “The Russians Rip Off NASA” “In due course we won’t have Mr. Clinton, or even Steven Brill, to kick around anymore, but the empty culture which brought them into being isn’t going away. Who might its new heroes be?” Allegedly subsidizes vast right-wing conspiracy of key Whitewater witnesses, bait-shop-owning spies, and other assorted Arkansan exotica. “Neither Miss Smith nor Mr. Glass will be invited back, though they are perfectly free to write for Salon magazine, where their fictive talents can be added to those of Mr. Jonathon Broder [and] Mr. Murray Waas.” Neo-Barris game show auteur, Ben Stein, writes regular column about being rich and mildly annoyed. Predictably ample “Asian Women Desire Romance! “mail-order chattel section. (Who says multiculturalism’s only for the left?)

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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