Mother Jones September/October 2020

Mother Jones is a nonprofit news organization with a bi-monthly magazine that delivers bold and original reporting on the urgent issues of our day, from politics and climate change to education and the food we eat. We investigate stories that are in the public’s interest. From revelatory scoops to deep-dive investigations, Mother Jones journalism is award-winning storytelling that informs and inspires 10 million monthly readers.

United States
Foundation For National Progress
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

Mother Jones reporter SAMANTHA MICHAELS investigated how unions protect killer cops (“The Shield”) from her home, listening to helicopters patrol anti-police protests in Oakland. She’d spent the last year reporting on an alternative policing program in the city—an attempt to flood the streets with more social services and fewer armed officers (“Whose Streets?”). When cops arrested WILLIS while he was photographing Black Lives Matter protests in Atlanta, they labeled his bag as reporter’s gear. “Oh shit,” he thought, “I’m legit.” Images from that night are part of his Instagram project “TrapLanta,” a living portfolio of one community’s transition from pandemic to protest, writes Mother Jones reporter JAMILAH KING in her introduction to his photos (“Underexposed”). ZACH EVERSON began tracking Trump’s Washington, DC, hotel (“Stay to Play”) in 2017 while doing research for…

4 min
it’s all out in the open

They say history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. Sometimes it does so even in the present tense. Right now is such a moment, with the three defining themes of this year—the reelection effort of Donald Trump, the coronavirus pandemic, and the reckoning with police abuse—all resonating in the same verse. Part of that underlying cadence is white supremacy, the foundational injustice of our country and the core of our president’s reelection message. For this issue, our DC bureau chief, David Corn, called up Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican operative and the chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid. Stevens explained how he has come to see his party: “It’s all about race. The Republican Party is a white party.” He blames himself for not seeing the truth earlier—“I wanted…

8 min
white elephant

When Donal Trump decided to back-burner the coronavirus crisis and reboot his reelection campaign with superspreader events in June, he headed to an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to present his case for four more years. In front of an audience of maskless fans standing side by side, Trump performed his usual routine. He threw out buzzwords (“law and order,” “left-wing radicals”). He boasted. (“I have done a phenomenal job” responding to the pandemic.) He denigrated his opponent as “Sleepy Joe.” He obsessed over personal grievances and slights, devoting much time to slamming news outlets that had recently shown video of him walking gingerly down a ramp after delivering a commencement address at West Point. What was mostly missing from Trump’s speech: ideas. Although he referred to his tax cuts for the…

7 min
playing chicken

A typical poultry, pork, or beef plant employs hundreds of people—by and large immigrants, refugees, and people of color—toiling shoulder to shoulder to dismember and break down carcasses moving down the kill line at rates as high as 390 cattle, 1,295 pigs, or 10,500 birds per hour. Meatpacking workers have always faced hazardous conditions and high injury rates, and their tight working conditions make them highly susceptible to viral pathogens. What spreads inside a meat factory doesn’t stay within its walls: By late May, rural counties that had meatpacking plants with COVID-19 outbreaks had average infection rates five times higher than the rest of rural America. As of mid-July, at least 167 meatpacking workers had died from the disease. “It’s a terrible experiment in achieving herd immunity,” says David Michaels, a…

7 min
how to pandemic-proof america

It's now abundantly clear that, despite repeated warnings from experts, the United States simply wasn’t ready for the coronavirus. So how do we fix what COVID-19 has shown was broken? In an online Mother Jones series, we’ve asked experts from a wide range of disciplines one question: What are the most important steps we can take to make sure we’re better prepared next time? Read the full package by scanning this QR code. Unmuzzle the experts Tom Frieden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Blaming the CDC is like blaming a person who has been bound and encased in cement for failing to swim. CDC has not communicated well because they have not been allowed to communicate. On January 26, [CDC vaccine head] Nancy Messonnier said, We have…

28 min
the shield

As the year 1990 came to an end, a fight broke out during a New Year’s Eve celebration at the Juke Box Saturday Night bar in downtown Minneapolis. A 21-year-old white student grabbed Michael Sauro from behind. Sauro, an off-duty white police officer working as a bouncer, handcuffed the man, dragged him to the kitchen, and then repeatedly drove his steel-toed paratrooper boots into his groin and head. Sauro had been a cop for 15 years and had a long record of citizen complaints against him, most of them about excessive force. “I was dealing with animals,” he would later tell a reporter when asked about the people he’d beaten. “I mean, my dog is more human than them.” But he had never been disciplined. Four years after the bar fight,…