Factual Reporting: HIGH
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Launched in 1976 and based in San Francisco, California, Mother Jones or MoJo is a news organization that is named after labor activist Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Mother Jones focuses on investigative journalism on topics including politics, governments, corporations, environment, crime & justice. They distribute their content via digital and social platforms, videos, podcasts, email newsletters, and print magazines. They describe their mission as “to deliver hard-hitting reporting that inspires change and combats “alternative facts.” In 1993, they became the first general-interest magazine to go online.
Currently, Steve Katz is the publisher. Mother Jones is published by The Foundation for National Progress. Monika Bauerlein is CEO and Clara Jeffery is the Editor-in-Chief. David Corn is the Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC.
For the complete list of staff, click here.
Funded by / Ownership
Mother Jones’ Non-Profit Parent company and publisher is the Foundation for National Progress (FNP) and according to the MacArthur Foundation, the Foundation for National Progress received $1.5 million grants in support for its in-depth investigative journalism work. The Board of Directors can be seen here and the complete donor list here.
Mother Jones’ primary source of revenue is reader donations, subscriptions, advertising, and foundation grants, for example, the Craigslist founder gave $1 million to Mother Jones in 2018. You can find details of their finances and IRS Form 990s Here.
Analysis / Bias
Although Mother Jones’s political inclinations have been described as progressive, they did not endorse any political party during the 2016 presidential election. They have published articles with an anti-Bernie Sanders tone such as from this article “Poor Bernie Sanders has fallen victim to the hack gap.” This stance has been criticized by other left-leaning publications as “Mother Jones’ Legacy Is Haunting Mother Jones as the Magazine Embraces Neoliberalism”. However, they have also been critical of Hillary Clinton with this article: Let’s Cut the Crap About Why Hillary Clinton Lost.
Mother Jones frequently publishes detailed investigative journalism such as “The full data set from our in-depth investigation into mass shootings.” This investigation has been criticized by some on the right, such as Reason.com.
In review, some articles we analyzed offers support for Republicans such as “This Deep-Red State Decided to Make a Serious Investment in Preschools. It’s Paying Off Big-Time”, by praising Lawmakers such as Jeana Ross, Republican Secretary for the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education, and Alabama state Senator Trip Pittman for their accomplishments in the state preschool program. On the other hand, they also have other articles we reviewed that has emotionally loaded headlines that are negative toward Republicans such as “Patriots Games, Birthday Bashes, and Vicious Tweets: Trump and Romney’s Failed Bromance.”
In general, story selection moderately favors the left, although the progressive left tends to be criticized more often than the establishment left. When it comes to sourcing, Mother Jones sources to credible media outlets such as Reuters, NY Times, The Hill, CNN, Time Magazine, NPR, Politico, Washington Examiner, and C-Span.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate Mother Jones strongly Left-Center biased based on story selection that moderately favors the left and High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and a clean fact check record. (5/13/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 6/22/2020)