NYT Uses Romney Tape to Gush Over Lefty Mother Jones Mag, Which Has 'Thrived' and 'Is Respected'

Christine Haughney used the clandestine Romney tape publicized by Mother Jones to celebrate the liberal magazine in Thursday's New York Times: "Video of  Romney Turns Spotlight on a Magazine – Mother Jones' Scoop on the '47 Percent.'"

Mother Jones, the left-leaning magazine that was founded above a McDonald’s restaurant in San Francisco 36 years ago, found itself lavished this week with the kind of attention usually reserved for larger news outlets. And that is not a bad thing for a nonprofit publication with a circulation of just over 200,000 and a business model partly dependent on its readers’ largess.

After Mother Jones released a video of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, at a fund-raiser in May saying 47 percent of Americans were “dependent” on government and believed that they were victims entitled to its help, millions of old and new readers tuned in.


For a budget-conscious nonprofit like Mother Jones, there was another benefit to being in the middle of a big national story: one enthusiastic reader sought out the magazine’s hard-to-find Washington bureau and dropped off a check.

Haughney credited Mother Jones with a "streak of investigative successes" including exposing "the dangers of Ford Pintos."

Through all the political pressures and the challenges facing the magazine industry, Mother Jones thrived. It has won six National Magazine Awards and managed its transition to digital journalism. In 2006, it drew attention for publishing a comprehensive timeline of the Iraq War, which Ms. Jeffery described as “that moment of reckoning when we as a profession had not really filled our watchdog role that well.”

Haughney rounded up praise for the magazine from leftist Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos blog, and liberal former journalist Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, who said “Mother Jones seems to live in a zone where it's respected.”

The Times is not nearly as kind to conservative magazines and journalists. Reporter Tim Arango attacked National Review in a November 17, 2008 story: "At National Review, a Threat to Its Reputation for Erudition."

And veteran journalist Michael Powell went after the "dirty tricks" of right-wing investigative journalist and provocateur James O'Keefe, who exposed troubling practices at the left-wing housing activist group ACORN.