American political journalism hasn’t exactly showered itself with glory lately. The snail’s-eye-view treatment of elections as tactical battles revolving around “game-changing” events and polls rather than as national decisions on public policy has been especially evident this last week.

But truly searching political journalism has long been rare. And that’s why the Washington Monthly has commissioned a film about its remarkable founder and his vision of journalism aimed at making government work, and training a generation of journalists determined to look below the surface of daily events.

How Washington Really Works: The Life and Times of Charlie Peters is near completion, but we need your help in deferring the costs. Check out the trailer, and contribute a few ducats if you can (and get some nice perks!). Charlie’s legacy is well worth preserving, particularly at this difficult juncture where journalism all too often has traded insight for volume and the bargain-basement efficiency of hype.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.