Glenn Beck Is Still Smearing Van Jones, Even After Jones Takes High Road Preaching 'Love' for Fox Host
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The following is an adapted excerpt from Alexander Zaitchik's forthcoming book, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance(Wiley, 2010).
Last Friday, the environmental activist Van Jones re-emerged on the public square, ending a six-month self-imposed gag order. For the first time since resigning from the White House in September, Jones was heard chatting with reporters and seen flashing his trademark easy smile.
Jones' rollout was marked by a sense of triumph, and Obama's former green jobs czar had good reason to grin. The controversy that led to his temporary withdrawal from public life had merely forced Jones to switch tracks, but did not appear to have reduced his speed. He rejoins the national energy discussion clasped as tightly as ever to the bosom of the progressive establishment, and begins his post-White House career with twin fellowships at Princeton University and the Center for American Progress.
One detail of Jones' return drew the most attention. It was not the prestige of his new posts. Nor was it his Image Award from the NAACP. Rather, it was his Christian air-kiss to Glenn Beck, who famously hounded Jones last summer during his final weeks working in the White House Council on Environmental Quality. At the close of his speech last Friday to the NAACP, Jones directly addressed his serial-lying Fox News antagonist for the first time.
"To my fellow countryman, Mr. Glenn Beck, I see you and I love you, brother," Jones said. "I love you, and you cannot do anything about it. Let's be one country. Let's get the job done."
Beck's response the following Monday made it clear that the host is not and never has been interested in any "one country" that includes the likes of Van Jones. If Jones had spent the last six months imagining a new dialogue with Beck and his Tea Party followers—perhaps one based on a shared concern over national and personal debt and America's attenuated manufacturing base—Beck obviously had not. At the first opportunity, Beck returned to the lies that he mouthed without cease the previous summer. In his response to Jones' olive branch, Beck tartly declared, in the face of all available evidence, "You, sir, are a self-avowed communist."
Though a lie, this charge was actually an improvement over the original lie with which Beck launched his crusade against Jones (and, by extension, Barack Obama). Last summer, Beck called Jones both a communist and a black nationalist, one pushing a green jobs agenda that was nothing but a stealth form of "reparations."
Here's how Beck initiated his sustained attack on Jones during the July 23 edition of the Glenn Beck Program :
[Obama's] new science czar, what is this guy's first name, Jones? Van Jones. Van Jones is a guy that was all caught up in the Rodney King trial and he was actually arrested . He was a radical communist. He hasn't shed that. He's still a radical. He is still a black nationalist. He is also now your green job czar. . . . Your country is being hijacked. They are using things like green jobs as a front. They are using health care as a front. In the context of Obama-style reparations, that's what they're doing. [Jones] is yet another community organizer. This is yet another black nationalist in the same way that Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a black nationalist. . . . America, you need to wake up, because this country is being transformed. It is way beyond socialism. It is into black nationalism.
Even by Beck's filthy standards, this tack represented an audacious leap. In effect, he was telling his listeners that they were not only in danger of losing "their" country, but that they were on the verge of becoming white chattel. One day, a Yale-educated lawyer like Jones is working in the office of the Council on Environmental Quality; the next day, Old Glory is drained of red, white, and blue and is retrofitted like some energy-inefficient office park with red, black, and green.