Van Jones Calls Fox News 'Stalkers' After Challenging Glenn Beck to Debate
Former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones likened Fox News to "stalkers" on Wednesday's MSNBC Live with left-wing pugilist Cenk Uygur.
Despite challenging Glenn Beck to a debate while speaking at the liberal Netroots Nation convention and in a MoveOn.org spot, and reportedly threatening legal action against Fox News, it was Jones who claimed the popular cable network has an unhealthy obsession.
Video follows break
Jones delivered the "stalker" comment in the context of explaining why he left the Obama administration in 2009: "I said, much more important for the president to focus on America's future than my colorful past. But two years later, you know, these folks, they are like stalkers, they just won't let it go."
During the segment, Jones accused Beck of claiming the American dream is a "burst of conspiracy." But Beck never said the American dream is a conspiracy theory. The Fox News host did say Jones' "American Dream movement" is led by a conspiracy theorist pushing liberal solutions to public policy issues.
For his part, Uygur echoed Jones, bellowing about the "kind of damage the extreme right wing can cause."
A transcript of the segment can be found below:
June 22, 2011
6:55 p.m. ET
CENK UYGUR: Now to a man who has seen firsthand what kind of damage the extreme right wing can cause, and is now taking some bold action in response. You may recall that Van Jones was an advisor in the Obama White House in 2009, when a smear campaign led by Glenn Beck and others at FOX News cost him his job. Well, Jones is fighting back now, both against the personal attacks he`s still getting, and against the conservative agenda that put tax cuts for the rich first and jobs for everyone else second. Jones lawyers have sent a cease and desist letter to FOX News demanding an end to what the legends are false attacks about Jones including claims that he`s spent time in jail and that he supports cop killers.
GLENN BECK, Fox News anchor: He just spent some time in jail, he's arrested.
BILL O'REILLY, Fox News anchor: A guy like Van Jones who is a friend to the president, right? And he comes in and he is a hard core mark.
SEAN HANNITY, Fox News anchor: This isn`t about a communist on top of everything else.
BECK: He's as radical revolutionary communist that doesn't like cops and a 9/11 Truther.
UYGUR: Jones is also challenging Glenn Beck to a debate. That would be fun. But Beck has declined in the process. Once again resorting to character assassination. Saying Jones is not honest, so funny joke coming from Beck. And of course, Beck continues to call Jones a communist to this debt. Meantime, Jones has a much bigger project in the works as well. And the Netroots conference, he called up progressives to rise up together.
VAN JONES, former Obama green jobs czar: We have dream killers who have a wrecking ball agenda for our country. A wrecking ball for America. But they painted that wrecking ball, red, white and blue. And they think that we'll going to stand here and salute their red, white and blue wrecking ball, they got another thought coming. It's time for the deep patriots to stand up to the cheap patriots.
UYGUR: That brought the House down at Netroots. And tomorrow, Jones is teaming up with the folks at Moveon.org to launch a "Rebuild the Dream" campaign with an event in New York City. The message, we don't need spending cuts. We need jobs. Thank God somebody is saying it. With me now is the man himself, Van Jones, president and co-founder of Rebuildthedream.com. All right. Van, first, let's get this out of the way. What are the different lies that FOX News and Glenn Beck continues to say about.
JONES: Well, I mean, there's no point, the list would be too long. And you know, you and I had a disagreement. I tried to be a turn the other cheek guy about this whole thing. But you know, the human body only has four cheeks. I ran out of cheeks to turn. And finally, I had to say, look, I want to have a serious discussion with the American people about how we can get jobs going again. And I can't have that discussion if somebody is going to be screaming false hoods out into the public square. You know, we have some serious problems, and I'm glad that the president may be bringing some troops home but, you know, what are they coming home to? Joblessness, hopelessness, allegedly now 17 suicide attempts a day for our young veterans. We are a better country than that. And we have got to be able to have a balanced approach to our budget problems. And we have a family with the budget problem, you don't want to say, well, let's just starve grandma. No. You might cut back on nonessentials. But then Junior goes out and gets a paper route. You increase the revenues. We've got to be able to put tax increases on the table, especially for the wealthy, so that we can continue to have a country with a middle class and with a government that can function. Washington, D.C., is in for a major wake-up call. They are so far out on this war in austerity agenda, the American people want peace and prosperity, not war and austerity. And what you're going to see starting tomorrow is a birth of a new movement, the American dream movement to defend the American dream.
UYGUR: All right. Van, you know, you mentioned that we had a disagreement. I've always been in favor of fighting back. OK. So now, look, when you came out of the White House first, you know, you came in being very polite et cetera, et cetera. What made you change your mind on this? And why did you hold back, back then?
JONES: Well, you know, first of all, you've got to remember, you know, I resigned from the White House because I felt that, you know, the right wing was going to use all my colorful past and try to, you know, distract the president from getting doctors to babies. Which was, you know, we had a president finally try to do something about health care. I said, much more important for the president to focus on America's future than my colorful past. But two years later, you know, these folks, they are like stalkers, they just won't let it go. So my position is, they can say whatever they want to about me for a while, then they crossed a line. And they attacked the American dream itself. Glenn Beck said, the American dream is just -- is a burst of conspiracy. And this new movement that is emerging to stand up for jobs and say, you know, Wall Street's got it back down and treat the American people with some respect, this American dream movement represents the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people, who are working hard to put meals on the table and who are scared in this country who deserves better. To attack that movement, I said this guy has gone a bridge too far. We got to draw a line in the sand. We got serious problems in this country. We got to have serious solutions. Let's stop the smears. So, I said stop smearing me. Let's have a real debate. And of course the guy runs behind a door when it's time to talk about having a real debate.
UYGUR: Of course. Now, real quick, Van, let me give you a number here. When you ask the American people what's the most important, 42 percent say unemployment and jobs. Only 17 percent say government spending. Who looks at that chart and goes, yes, let's focus on government spending in federal deficit instead of jobs? Why are the Democrats going in a wrong direction here on their emphasis? Real quick here, 20 seconds.
JONES: Well, I'll tell you why. Because the American people have not stood up loudly enough. We have a small number of cheap patriots that are screaming for cuts, cuts, cuts. But the deep patriots haven't stood up yet for the American dream. That's going to happen tomorrow starting Thursday, Rebuildthedream.com, 8:15 p.m. East Coast time. Check it out. A new movement will be born and it will include the roots.
UYGUR: All right, Van Jones, president and co-founder of "Rebuild the Dream." Thank you for joining us.
JONES: Glad to be here.
--Alex Fitzsimmons is a News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.