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A Closer Look

Examining the News

A Free Press Works for All of Us

The cause of investigative reporting, a crucial element of our democracy, benefits enormously from our country’s tradition of a free, unfettered press.

Why the IRS’ Recent Dark Money Decision May Be Less Dire Than It Seems

With the tax agency already “toothless” on political cases, how much difference does it make if it’s now “deaf and blind,” too?

How the Fight Against Affirmative Action at Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites

If preferences for black and Hispanic applicants are abolished, expect a backlash against admissions boosts for children of alumni and donors.

How Mitch McConnell Made Donald Trump

The president owes both his election and his long-term impact to the Senate majority leader, who not only engineered the strategy that will let Trump make two Supreme Court appointments, but also created the circumstances that facilitated his rise. 

Jared Kushner’s Grandmother Bemoaned the “Closed Doors” That Faced Refugees to America

The family of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser escaped the Holocaust — but had to wait in a camp for years to be allowed into the U.S. If Kushner shares her view, he’s keeping it private.

What It Was Like Reporting on a Teenager Marked for Death by the Gang MS-13

Henry, the teenager, gave me more access than any source has ever allowed me. And given his youth and vulnerable position, I often wondered if it was too much. But he wanted his story told.

Warren Buffett Recommends Investing in Index Funds — But Many of His Employees Don’t Have That Option

The billionaire investor has long praised the virtues of putting money in low-fee index funds, but many of his companies don’t offer such funds in workers’ retirement accounts. It’s a problem shared by millions of Americans.

How Senior Daddies — Like Donald Trump — Are Eligible for a Social Security Bonus

There are hidden problems in the safety net, including extra cash for people who have kids late in life. Here are some of the most unfair examples, along with some simple ways to fix them.

How Political Pessimism Helps Doom Tougher Gun Laws

Saying ‘nothing will change’ has empowered the NRA and ignores its declining punch.

Revelations About the FBI’s Delay on Clinton Emails May Be Less Than They Seem

Reports have examined the lag in examining Hillary Clinton’s emails just before the 2016 election. But the question inside the FBI wasn’t whether to reveal the emails quickly — it was whether it was proper to reveal them at all.

Taking Care to Get a Mississippi Scandal Right

People in the state took a chance that I would resist stereotypes and report an important truth about the crisis in mental health resources.

Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham

Republicans claim they’re fixing a tax loophole that benefits wealthy money managers. Don’t believe them.

The Cost of Trump’s Wall Compared to the Programs He’s Proposing to Cut

America may get its border wall. It just might have to do without a lot else.

A Schlupfloch Here, a Schlupfloch There. Now It’s Real Money.

How we broke a story about U.S. banks exploiting a tax loophole that cost German taxpayers $1 billion a year — and why you should care.

An Unintended Side Effect of Transparency

Some readers are using a ProPublica database to search for doctors who freely prescribe opioid painkillers, raising questions.

Mexico Finds It Easier to Focus on Trump Than Its Own Failings

Experts accuse the Mexican government of thwarting its investigation of a student massacre and torturing suspects, but the top story in a prominent Mexican newspaper is about standing up to Trump.

A Closer Look: I’m Not (Just) Your Paperboy

Why more newsrooms should embrace crowd-powered journalism.

The Time a Newspaper Stared Down the Country's Largest Advertiser 

A little-remembered incident helped establish the notion that news organizations could and should preserve their independence from advertisers.

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