UPDATED: The Bell Tolls for Van Jones and Print Media

Jones is Gone, Will Print Media Soon Follow?
Jones is Gone, Will Print Media Soon Follow?

Is “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones’s ouster (sudden ouster, if the New York Times is your primary news source), a harbinger of print media’s imminent (or at least sooner rather than later) demise?

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama’s adviser Van Jones has resigned amid controversy over past inflammatory statements, the White House said early Sunday. Jones, an administration official specializing in environmentally friendly “green jobs” with the White House Council on Environmental Quality was linked to efforts suggesting a government role in the 2001 terror attacks and to derogatory comments about Republicans. The resignation comes as Obama is working to regain his footing in the contentious health care debate.

For the past two week, the internet was abuzz with stories of Jones purported radicalism. A few years back, he signed a 9/11 “Truther” petition, a statement by a (kinda nutty) organization whose members believe the Bush Administration either failed to act on 9/11 or were complicit in the terror actions (along with a whole bunch of other conspiratorial cover-up stuff involving insider trading, technical explanations of implosions vs plane strike, etc; like I wrote before kinda nutty.)  During the week it also came out that Jones had been a member of  Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, or STORM, a defunct organization with Marxist leanings. So, Jones was kinda nutty, and sorta commie. Finally, to top it all off, he said some things that were better left unsaid, I guess.

And now he’s gone, which everyone knows if you read the FIRST AND ONLY ARTICLE ABOUT THE VAN JONES CONTROVERSY IN THE NYT WHEN THE PAPER FINALLY PRINTS AN ARTICLE ABOUT IT TOMORROW!!! UPDATE: If you read the NYT story this a.m., you STILL don’t really, truly understand why the Administration ousted Jones. Here is the paragraph summarizing the reason for Jones’s sudden departure:

The adviser, Van Jones, a controversial and charismatic community organizer and “green jobs” advocate from the San Francisco Bay Area, signed a petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration had allowed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to provide a pretext for war in the Middle East [emph added].

A light reading of that sentence could lead the uninitiated to believe  the 9/11 Truther petition was protesting the use of 9/11 attacks to drum up support for the war in Iraq, a fairly mainstream proposition. In fact, 9/11 Truthers believe (and the wording in the petition clearly alludes to the fact) that the Bush Administration as a minimum allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen, or were complicit in them. That is well within the realm of nutty, no? Why airbrush over the fact that signing this petition is damning in and of itself? Mickey Kaus has a few theories.  At the bare minimum, the Times could have  provided deeper context by investigating whether Jones truly knew what he was signing (as Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has done). Probably too hard to do for an outfit on a shoestring budget, though.

And the New York Times is hardly alone; none of the other major publications gave Van Jones, a man commissioned my President Obama to spend over $60 billion of taxpayers’ money on so-called green jobs, more than a cursory glance at the man’s fitness to do so. And when they finally were forced to commit words to print, the Times’s milquetoast  article chalked up the imbroglio to a victory of the relentless conservatives over the administration, too. No question of the administration’s judgement, or vetting process, or depth, or context.

Notable blogger and pundit Mickey Kaus recently wrote “I’ve been waiting for the day when a prominent pol resigns and for print MSM readers it appears to be out-of-the-blue, though everyone on the Web knows the whole story”;  we were practically there with the Van Jones deal, and once we get there,  how many people will be willing to pay for a print newspaper? Besides households with parakeets and puppies, that is.

Update: Related thoughts HERE and HERE.

Update 2: Check out Thomas Friedman and Tom Brokaw, as they discuss Van Jones’s firing and spew about the dangers of the internets. I especially love Brokaw’s comment about the sanctity of the MSM “vetting” process, classic. UPDATE: My friend BM, who is incapable of posting a comment on any blog for some reason emails: “Hey, Maybe Brokaw or Dan Rather can go get a job in the administration as ‘The Vetting Czar’.” Cool!

Anyway, here’s the vid, and as they say, “My dear friends, welcome to Jurassic Park”:


One thought on “UPDATED: The Bell Tolls for Van Jones and Print Media

  1. You’ve made some great points about the importance of vetting in this internet age: vetting information, and vetting czars.

    As to Van Jones’ qualifications to be Green Energy Jobs czar, or how problematic his leftist activities were–or were not–that’s another whole subject.

    As to the government’s competence or incompetence in choosing Van Jones, I can’t (and won’t) judge. I don’t have enough information.

    What happened to Van Jones was a complex confluence of events involving the Administration, FOX News and Glenn Beck, “Big Oil,” and Van Jones himself. Looked at from a “systems thinking” point of view, there is no single “thing” that led to his “resignation.”

    But back to your primary point; without the internet, Van Jones would probably never have come under investigation or censure. Certainly, it wouldn’t have happened in a matter of days. And even more surely, it wouldn’t have happened while newspapers were looking the other way.

    By the way, the video complements the article perfectly, too. All in all, very well presented.

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