Reviews For Mother Jones Magazine

For everything your newspaper does not write about

If you've ever been curious to find out what all that Agent Orange has been doing to people in Southeast Asia, or how the black churches across the country are dealing with the AIDS epidemic, then start reading this mag.
Mother Jones is probably one of the staples of the activist culture in America; each bimonthly issue gives thorough insight on issues that are usually buried deep with in the back pages of most newspapers, if they're ever covered at all. Each issue usually contains three main stories, plus several departments and editorials. In addition, there are usual tidbits of interesting news around the world, such as bans on dangerous chemicals and environmental incidents. There is the "Hellraiser of the month" which gives a short bio on a noteworthy activist.
This magazine is definitely left-wing and the story topics do not hide that fact. However, no matter the slant, the stories are always informative, and insightful. The authors of each story make good effort in trying to balance the quotes and information from all sides of the issue. Most of the writers are contributors, not staff writers, and that gives each issue a sense of identity and uniqueness.
Past articles have touched on many diverse topics; a year ago there was a story about extreme environmentalists burning down a ski resort to prevent the resort from destroying wild lands during the construction of several new slopes - this story covered both the people that supported this rather extreme measure and the people who did not, the people who lost their jobs when the ski resort closed. Several months ago, another issue talked about the effect of abestos mining on a small town; miners would come home covered in the lethal dust, and whole families would die over the years from the resulting damage to their lungs. A story about the relatively extreme measures America is taking to prevent against biological attacks is the cover story for the October issue.
This last example illustrates my one point of contention with this magazine, despite attempts at achieving balance, sometimes the stories can appear quite lop sided. The article gives the false impression that biological weapons are for the most part impossible to use and no one would use them if they worked because they could backfire and kill many of the terrorists. I have read quite of few different works on the subject, and there are plenty of examples of biological weapons that have worked and have caused much suffering. As with anything, it is always wise to seek more than one source of information on any given topic. This is, however,the only time I have caught an unbalanced article in this magazine - an offense most publications are guilty of from time to time.
Mother Jones' new format is a slight evolution of the older version. The most notable difference is the cover. However, all the information inside is just as relevant and intriguing as it has ever been.
This magazine, along with Harper's, Utne Reader, and National Geographic, sits on my coffee table. My friends are always asking to borrow my back issues, and often they don't return them. I remember a longer than expected road trip in Canada where Mother Jones was the primary source of entertainment for myself and four friends.
If you desire to have your finger on the pulse of liberal activism in America, and from many parts of the world, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this well-written magazine.


Muckraking journalism at its best

This country has had a long history of socialist agitators and hell raisers though I didn't learn about any of them in the watered down c**p taught in school. Mother Jones magazine is named after one of the best, most fearless, dedicated, social justice agitators in this country's history. It's definitely not a magazine for the weak at heart, or for those who prefer to believe the corporate propaganda spewed by most of the mainstream media. Their latest issue has a fantastic cover story written by longtime Texan writer Molly Ivins on George W. Bush's oily past. It describes in great detail a tortured history of shady deals and money for access favors that should make even the conservatives among us shudder.

Other stories in this issue are:

A Job on the Line: A story of how free trade has affected two working women at opposite ends of the global assembly line.

Don?t Cry for Bush, Argentina: Foreign affairs as practiced by George W. many years ago. Shady dealings, illegal influence peddling.

To Live For Ireland: A series of moving photos of Ireland.

Prodigal Sun: The history of solar energy policy in this country. How prez Alzhimers shafted this blossoming technology in the 80s.

Ballots and Bones: Chile?s new socialist president has a tough call to make on the Pinochet issue.

Plus lots of regular features, letters, shorts, and cartoons.

This is a great mag and I, too, wish we saw it at the supermarket instead of Cosmo etc.


Who Needs Tabloids?

Although I'm amused by the cover headlines in the check-out line, I think it'd be great if the supermarkets had Mother Jones up there along with the Enquirer, the Weekly World News, and all that stuff. The stories in Mother Jones are every bit as scandalous as the ones in the tabloids, after all. The only difference? They're true!

So instead of reading about how the Pope fathered Britney Spears' love child (okay, they haven't run that headline - YET!) shoppers could read about how a charitable group sent flood victims in Mozambique "care packages" of old, rancid food. Or about how thousands of people die every year due to preventable medical accidents in hospitals. Or satire pieces with headlines like "Stop Drugs: Kill Addicts!"

Of course, given that Mother Jones is running actual news, and thought-provoking stories about actual real-world events, I should probably be pretty worried that gap between reality and the tabloids seems to be narrowing. Or should I?


Describe the magazine's political views: It is liberal

Stories You Don't Often Hear

The best thing about Mother Jones is that the content is predominately original, and not to be found in other publications. There are stories given a great deal of attention in this magazine that never make it into the majority of national media outlets. A story about the recent restructuring of the funding process for Vermont public schools is a good case in point. The story was in depth and though provoking.
As a word of advice this magazine is probably not for the conservatively minded, or those who prefer to assimilate news is small sound-bite sized chunks. In terms of depth of coverage, Mother Jones is to Newsweek as New York is to Peoria. The writing is professional, but the tone of the magazine does lean strongly to the left of the political spectrum.


Describe the magazine's political views: It is liberal
Primary Reason for Buying: News/Current Events

Over the Top?

I've been reading Mother Jones for about 8 years now, and I have seen the magazine go through some editorial and design changes -- not all of them have been good.

On one hand, Mother Jones does expose issues that may get little or no coverage in the mainstream media. For example -- while sweatshops and overseas labor abuses have been appearing in Mother Jones for years, it's only been in the last 5 years or so that we've seen anything of substance in Newsweek or Time.

The political leaning is to the far left, and when a magazine takes such a strong position one way or another, there often isn't a lot of room for compromise or other viewpoints. Often times, I find myself bored with the liberal political rhetoric and unrealistic goals described in some of the articles. Kind of a "well-yeah-that-would-be-nice-but-I-won't-hold-my-breath" situation.

But I will continue to buy Mother Jones when there's something of interest on the cover. I know that there's at least one article that will hold my interest to the end, and it's certainly more interesting than mainstream news magazines.


Describe the magazine's political views: It is liberal.
Primary Reason for Buying: Articles

Great articles

Excellent articles for anyone who sees themselves as a liberal. A must read by the left.

Now, This is Liberal Media.

Mother Jones doesn't hide its colors - it is liberal. I pick this magazine up three or four times a year at the bookstore; sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't.

Mother Jones is best as an investigative magazine and puts together a great issue every year containing information on the money givers to both political parties. That and its investigations into corporate abuses are Mother Jones at its most informative.

When the magazine gets into political philosophy it is often shallow and out of touch. I am a moderately conservative person, but I am certain I could make better arguments for the viewpoint of this magazine than some of the authors they choose. What liberal there is in me just cringes at some of the reasoning used in this magazine from time to time.

I think sometimes the magazine is willing to print flawed arguments just as long as it can claim it is the most liberal.

All that said, however, I will still recommend the reading of Mother Jones. Sometimes it is the only place you will read of some of the injustices that take place in our society, and I just believe that everyone needs to be exposed to a wide range of ideas. This magazine will give you one side of the spectrum.


Describe the magazine's political views: It is liberal
Primary Reason for Buying: Articles

Why read left to right when you can just have the Left?

This magazine is emblematic of everything the Oklahomans hate about New Englanders ("Hey! We know what verisimilitude means!"). I'm all for big words, but and impressive vocabulary should be used to achieve the best possible elaboration of a statement, not to conquer your opponents with awe. Don't get me wrong, I most definitely did not vote for Bush (Bednarik, anyone? Was I really the only one?), but these writers are just as combative as Rush. Rather than having an intelligent social and political discussion, they chose to lambaste The Right as whole. It takes away from the content, and it's insulting to the intellectuals among us who happen to have conservative leanings. I think that the issues raised by Mother Jones need to be discussed, but with a little more tact. You'll win no converts with insults. Buy Foreign Policy or something similar instead.

Not worth it!

Mother Jones is an odd magazine: the topics covered in the magazine are mostly interesting. The articles however are extremely long and contain next to no information. Don't get me wrong, I am all for long articles... if they contain well summarized, well researched information. This is not the case for most articles in Mother Jones. It seems that the authors are trying to hide as little information as possible in a 10 page long prose story about sympathetic characters. In some cases, a bit more semi-humorous information is hidden amongst some drawings.

All in all, this seems like kids news for hip grown-ups: the author knows that the reader doesn't really care about complicated stuff such as politics or economics, but still wants to pretend to be a well-informed intellectual, so he wraps about a bit of information in a nice story. Some people might like that kind of journalism, I prefer real news!

And be warned: if you subscribe to Mother Jones, you will be flooded with junk mail.


I am interested in a REAL magazine of progressive politics and environmental conservation. Most of this is poorly researched invective.