Donate Today To Support Reason's Investigative Journalism!

It's our annual webathon. Will you help pay for the plane tickets and lawyers and records fees (and coffee) that make our work possible?


Today is the first day of our annual webathon. All week, we'll be asking you to help support Reason's journalism. Our goal is $200,000 this year, and we hope you'll contribute. Besides the satisfaction of donating to the worthy cause of free minds and free markets (plus the tax break!) there's some pretty good swag. And you might as well donate early, since kicking in cash now will make the popups go away for the duration of the webathon.

You're going to hear a bunch of reasons to give to Reason over the course of the webathon, but I'm going to kick things off by asking you to support our investigative reporting. We have many folks on staff who aren't afraid to go spelunking and share what they find—but I want to highlight the work of two reporters: Elizabeth Nolan Brown and C.J. Ciaramella.

When we look back at more than 50 years of Reason archives, we're especially proud of the causes we adopted back when everyone else thought they were hopeless or even downright crazy. Stuff like supporting gay marriage decades before even the Democratic Party came around. Or backing drug legalization at a time when "Just Say No" was a nearly unquestioned mantra. These are stories that required Reason journalists to see what others couldn't, but also to seek out the facts necessary to set the record straight and win skeptics over to the cause of individual freedom.

The war on sex trafficking, as Brown has been explaining in our pages for years now, is the new war on drugs. In the last year, Brown obtained secret Department of Justice memos, got the principal players in the huge story of the shutdown of the adult classified site Backpage.com to go on the record exclusively with Reason, and generally scooped the heck out of everybody else covering this important beat thanks to a combination of hard-earned access and perseverance. All of this has been in the service of demonstrating how a well-intentioned effort has gone horribly awry, threatening not only the civil liberties and personal freedoms of consenting buyers and sellers of sex, but also everyone from internet users to airline travelers to hotel guests along the way.

Brown is an acknowledged expert in the field. She appeared in this documentary. And this one. And this one:


(By the by, Brown did all of this investigative work in addition to writing you—yes, you!—an email every single morning and also being our pointwoman on the "Kamala Harris Is a Cop" meme.)

C.J. Ciaramella is on another one of those beats that seem crazy until you win: criminal justice reform. Reason has been beating this particular drum for so long we're getting carpal tunnel.

But Ciaramella wakes up every day and FOIAs a new police department or writes more scripts to get information from messy state data dumps or just scans local news for opportunities to get the rest of the story—the real story—after other outlets have replayed cellphone footage for the rubberneckers and moved on.

This year Ciaramella did a deep dive on rampant police abuse in Vallejo, California, and unearthed story after story of officer misbehavior going unpunished. He reported on an Alabama couple who lost their house after police raided their house, seized their cash, and ruined their lives for $50 of marijuana. He shared the tale of a woman who was desperate to get answers about her son's death at the hands of New York police.

But when you do stuff like release secret government memos or publish deep dive on a controversial asset forfeiture case, you'd better be sure the whole shebang is airtight. And that's where things get expensive. We are very lucky to have a barrel full of some of the smartest lawyers around sharing quarters here at Reason.com (hi Volokhers!) but sometimes you also need the kind of lawyers who want to be paid in actual money.

Court documents and Freedom of Information requests cost money (though they shouldn't!). So do plane tickets to Arizona where your subjects are on house arrest. So does a big wall to tack up newspaper clippings and connect them with colored string. (Just kidding, Liz and C.J. don't do that. Probably.) And coffee. Lots of coffee.

If you want to see more of the kind of investigative journalism Brown and Ciaramella produce, please consider donating to Reason. If you have donated in the past, thank you for your support. We hope you'll donate again this year. If you haven't donated before, but you like what you read, watch, and listen to at Reason, consider supporting the work of principled libertarian journalists who work hard to dig up truths no one else even thought to look for.

NEXT: Young Americans Oppose Mandatory National Service, Military or Otherwise

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The only 2019 investigating that had any effect was Robby sitting on his couch and watching that indian guy badger a bunch of white kids with a drum because no one else was bored enough to watch.

    And it hardly mattered because all your clown friends pumping corporate propaganda called the kid a nazi. THEN Reason had the balls to defend WaPo for their smears.

    Prostitute documentaries? Hasn’t moved a needle.
    Criminal justice reform? Thanks Trump!

    1. And it hardly mattered because all your clown friends pumping corporate propaganda called the kid a nazi. THEN Reason had the balls to defend WaPo for their smears.

      And considering the mountains of Russian Collusion and Kavanaugh Sexual Assault bullshit this rose was growing under, the ROI on donating to support investigative journalism would seem to be well less than 1%.

      1. all those articles are for the sweet, sweet rage clicks to get ad dollars. And I am fine supporting Reason through my rage/ troll clicks on those articles, but investigative they are not.

        How about someone hops on the Epstein coverup? It’s got corruption, crony capitalism, “both sides”…

        I’ll support that in a heartbeat.

  2. I encourage everyone to give generously in these financially ruinous times. Reason’s billionaire benefactor Charles Koch has been hit especially hard by the high-tariff / low-immigration #DrumpfRecession. It’s up to us to keep the lights on at Reason.com until Mr. Koch is back on his feet.

    1. By the way, when choosing which Reason contributors to single out for praise, you mustn’t ignore Shikha Dalmia.

      You should link one of her pieces in which she cleverly uses American guilt about slavery to promote Charles Koch’s immigration agenda. Like the one I link in my username, which explains how enforcing a national border is basically the same as enforcing fugitive slave laws. Or this one which calls slavery our ORIGINAL SIN and recommends open borders as atonement.

    2. I’m kicking in $100 this year. I thought most of the articles were pretty good. You sound bitter that the flagship magazine for limited government isn’t doing what libertarians should be doing— that is, sucking Dear Leader’s cock. Sorry, man, fellatio is fine, but not on Trump’s little mushroom underneath his fat rolls. Yuck… how can you live with yourself, dude?

  3. Donate for more TDS journalism! For opinion and propaganda masquerading as journalism! For being told how deplorable I am for not wanting the socialism and socialists that I escaped to follow me into the US.

    The times of giving to Reason are over until you start taking journalism seriously again.

  4. Investigative journalism?
    Go fuck yourself, Reason
    I do appreciate you scrolling the names of suckers on the page though.
    Great market for some time shsres

    1. I do appreciate you scrolling the names of suckers on the page though.

      I admit it is a selling point. I have half a mind to generate usernames and donate just to have evidence that Reason is supported by:
      White Supremacists
      David Duke
      The Real Donald Trump
      George Soros
      The Koch Brothers

  5. Can we see examples of investigative journalism before I donate? I prefer more than investigations based on common media narratives and testimony based on assumption and opinions.

    For example… John Solomon links to primary sources in discussing Ukraine, not solely opening testimony prepared for political consumption. or realclearinvestigationa.com as another example.

  6. (By the by, Brown did all of this investigative work in addition to writing you—yes, you!—an email every single morning and also being our pointwoman on the “Kamala Harris Is a Cop” meme.)

    And I, for one, sincerely thank her (and her occasional subs) for the effort.

    1. I miss the AM and PM notes.

  7. Thanks ENB for being on the prostitution beat… might seem weird and creepy if Robby was doing it. And I enjoyed that article on the Backpage dudes.

    And I enjoy my morning Brickbats, the support for Snowden and Ross Ulbricht, articles on government overreach, and being able to say “fuck you” and “eat shit” in the comment section. And of course for the commenters, who love to point out ceaselessly how imperfect you are, and to “fuck you and eat shit” every fucking day. Reason is OK by me.

    1. Reason the publication is utter trash.
      Reason the website and comment board deserves credit for lacking censorship, and is responsible for 90% of their clicks.

      1. You have this entirely backwards. The publication- the actual long form articles they write- is quite good. It is the hot takes- driven mostly by their younger writers who are one cup of kool-aid away from HuffPost- written for Hit and Run that are horrible. The comments section just takes the brun off.

  8. Here is the bizarre thing for me. When I listen to the podcasts, and read sporadic articles by Teh Jacket, I get a lot more skepticism about this whole Trump impeachment. I get the sense that Gillepse, KMW, and others of the, ehem, more mature stripe are about as jaded with the politics as me. To be sure, they are still pretty lefty, but I at least see them shrugging and more or less indicating “Yeah, I know this is all bullshit, but I’ll let it go.”

    On the other hand, you have ENB, Binion and Sollum just beating the drum of impeachment like any other MSM foot soldier. It has been an embarrassment how clear the evidence was of Collusion, and then when that didn’t pay off, how impeachable the “Obstruction” was, and now how serious the secondhand hearsay was.

    I get it- those articles by the young lefties are driving a lot of traffic. But that is traffic that they are getting off a small number of commentators who slam the comments sections. And by the way, a similar number of comments come when Ed or others post a more balanced article. (C.f. the article titled “Of all the things to impeach a president for, they chose this?”) So why do they chose to do these stupid Vox-lite articles? I can only guess it is because the younger writers are the ones on the hook for doing lots of blog posts, and they have declined to find someone outside the Vox mold.

    If you want me to support you further, you are going to need to reign that in.

    1. This. I donated last year, but am not sure I want to again because so much of the coverage is becoming the same orange man bad reporting I’m already oversaturated with from everywhere else. I didn’t vote for trump, I won’t in 2020, but the TDS at reason is getting arduous to slog through. Worst of all, it distracts from the substantive issues we *should* be criticizing trump for…. And completely ignores the few substantive issues we should be praising him for.

  9. I hate piling on…makes me look less like a lone curmudgeon and more like part of an angry mob.

    But my specific criticism is the pro-abotion coverage, which isn’t even balanced by coverage of the Daleiden trials – talk about a whistleblower facing retaliation! And he didn’t even flee to Russia, he stayed in the U. S. to face the music –


  10. I suppose I shall have to donate now, seeing as how you seem to be too poor to continue to support Internet Explorer and I’ve suddenly had to switch to Firefox for the commenting function to function.

    Oh, and also for the ability to tell the cult members here “fuck you and eat shit” and to continue mocking Our (Flailing) Lord and Savior Donald J Trump, who definitely isn’t randomly making shit up every time he opens his mouth.

    1. He was a Democratic real-estate developer in New York City – of course he’s mastered the Art of the Bullshit.

      The fact that he has supporters is in good part owing to the quality of his competition, not to any towering awesomness on his part.

    2. Internet explorer? Save your money and buy yourself a computer from this decade.

    3. Oh, and also for the ability to tell the cult members here “fuck you and eat shit”

      I agree with you. It’s worth at least $100 to me in order to have a platform to do that.

      1. LeaveTrumpAloneLibertarian
        December.3.2019 at 12:40 pm
        “I agree with you. It’s worth at least $100 to me in order to have a platform to do that.”

        And here we have the new Reason supporter; commie-kid. The scumbag Lenin/Stalin supporter who couldn’t somehow pay his mortgage!
        Ain’t it a wonder…

    4. “Our (Flailing) Lord and Savior Donald J Trump,”

      From our flailing fucking ignoramus.

  11. Hmm, KMW, maybe you should block some of these commenters disparaging your work— especially during fundraising season. I thought you all did a pretty good job. I probably agree with every other thing you all say, but where we disagree I thought the articles were at least thought-provoking. Thank you for the hard work and the good journalism.

    1. Dude, she’s not going to go out with you.

  12. Shikha screeches mindlessly about anything even remotely immigration related. Binion and Sullum have done nothing in the past few months other than write distorted articles about how the walls are closing in around Trump, when they are clearly not. Zuri Davis writes frequently about DNA evidence, but clearly doesn’t understand what it is, or how it functions. Boehm writes about tariffs with the same nuanced doomsday perspective as lefties write about climate change.

    To be honest, I don’t think any of the articles posted in Reason even remotely pass for “investigative” anything. Just garbled talking points. Journalism is the art of finding the story, and reporting on the facts, not flooding the internet with regurgitated content from other sites.

  13. Why wouldn’t I cut out the middle man and just donate to the Buttaplugplug campaign?

  14. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me? Investigative journalism? Please show your work. 75% of the “articles” are just Democrat talking points with no substance. The headlines alone from the past year are enough to prove the case that Reason has become another boring left-wing rag. It’s hacks all the way down.

  15. Reason has lost it’s way and is not worthy of extra support.
    When it’s rock star staff start doing serious stuff again I will be interested.
    More than 1/4 of what Reason no prints is anti-Libertarian.
    How about some Research on;
    Europe’s health outcomes versus the USA. Country by country.
    Europe’s data on births and when and how they collect it compared to USA
    A story explaining how European higher ed is often free, but you must qualify to go.
    A story about the actual overall level of Scandinavian countries tax burden, especially on the lower 50% of population. The same for the rest of Europe.
    Stories on European the British NOT doctors who determine if you get healthcare or palliative care and the details on the dollar threshold they use to determine your fate.
    Some favorable coverage to our yellow guy for a change. He has done more to reduce the rate of government growth, power, not spending, than any president in history…….Reason ignores all positives , just like the main stream media. Not Good!
    Better articles on Immigration, especially how to get more LEGAL immigrants.
    Story on how we actually recycle oil……we don’t.
    How about Biden and Ukraine?
    Too much Hollywood leftism and too little American Liberty.

  16. Reason used to get a decent contribution from Sevo, but that was when there was some measurable result, however ambiguous.
    I spoke with Welsh about this several years back, and was told that Reason ‘really does try to affect people’s opinions’, or some such hoo-ha.
    I’ll leave that for your edification, along with the note that my current contribution amounts to $0.00.
    And worth every penny!

  17. I’m not sure why I would contribute to the Koch’s mouthpiece, belching forth their bizarre and demented spin on libertarianism rendering it almost unrecognizable. Their obsession with open borders and isolationism are arguable fringes of libertarian concepts. But Reason continues to take their marching orders from their Koch masters by flogging these topics to the almost total exclusion of things like personal responsibility and freedoms which form the real basis of the libertarian ideology. Let the Kochs pay for their own propaganda.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.