Glenn Beck KOs Van Jones: The Future of Media and Politics?
For six weeks, while virtually every mainstream media outlet ignored "green jobs czar" Van Jones, Fox News's Glenn Beck exposed the radical background of President Obama's environment adviser.
On Saturday, Jones resigned, and most of the same news outlets that ignored the shocking nature of this White House representative are coming to his defense predictably claiming that he was the victim of a right-wing smear campaign.
One so-called journalist is even asking his viewers to dig up dirt on Beck.
Somewhat bucking this disgraceful trend was Politico in its Monday article "Glenn Beck Up, Left Down and Jones Defiant":
"If Jones left under pressure from the Obama administration then we are in for a very long and painful four years,” said Melissa Harris Lacewell, a political science professor at Princeton University. “I would hate to think that Glenn Beck can simply shout down any member of the administration he chooses to target.”
They were referring to the Fox News host who has rocketed to a status as de facto leader of the opposition since joining the network from the relative obscurity of talk radio and CNN Headline News. Beck's attacks on Jones intensified after an advocacy group Jones helped found, Color of Change, lead a campaign to drive advertisers away from Beck’s show.
But as soon as the ensuing controversy began to bleed over onto the websites of ABC News, POLITICO, and other quarters of the mainstream media, the administration appeared to stop defending Jones. After passing on a statement Thursday from Jones indicating that he would hold fast, Gibbs declined to indicate Friday that he had Obama’s confidence, and the resignation – apparently timed for maximum obscurity in the early hours of a holiday weekend Sunday – began to seem preordained.
The resignation, in turn, confirmed Beck’s stature as the administration’s most potent foe. Along with the talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report’s Matt Drudge, Beck helped drive a summer of protest against health care reform that turned the legislation into a referendum on change and .
Is Beck the administration's most potent foe, or is Politico badly missing the point?
After all, the obviously larger issue is that only Fox News, talk radio, and conservative bloggers are at all willing to vett members of the Obama administration, and the mainstream outlets, after spending last year cheerleading the junior senator from Illinois straight into the White House, have now taken to defending and protecting him and his staff.
Isn't this just another example of so-called journalists abdicating their solemn responsibility to uncover the truth and report it to a nation that so craves it?
When did it become the role of news outlets to defend our political leaders and shelter them from scrutiny?
In the previous week, videos surfaced of Jones calling Republicans a**holes, suggesting that President Bush smokes crack, and that white people are intentionally polluting black communities, not to mention the finding that he signed a document claiming the government might have been involved in the 9/11 attacks.
Despite the controversial nature of such revelations, none of it seemed at all newsworthy to media members who three years ago spent almost three solid months obsessing over a word likely no American had ever heard before or vaguely knew the meaning of -- "macaca."
Maybe best symbolizing the absurdity of the current press position was MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Sunday asking Daily Kos readers to "Find everything [they] can about Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere, and Roger Ailes."
This was in response to Beck tweeting the following on Friday:
(For those unfamiliar with these names -- shame on you! -- Cass Sunstein is the nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Mark Lloyd is the Associate General Counsel and Chief Diversity Officer of the FCC, and Carol Browner is the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change as well as the former administrator of the EPA under President Clinton.)
So let me get this straight: the host of a popular cable news program asks his viewers to find out information about members of the White House, and another host responds by asking his viewers to dig up dirt on the other host?
Granted, MSNBC was the leading cheerleader for the Obama campaign last year with one of its top personalities claiming after the election that it was his job to make sure the new president was successful:
So, is it now MSNBC's responsibility to dig up dirt on media members that have the nerve to investigate and report the background of Obama administration officials?
And is it the press's job to deflect White House criticism by depicting all negative reports about the current President and his staff as part of what Hillary Clinton called a vast right-wing conspiracy?
Is this really the future of media and politics: Fox News, conservative talkers and bloggers will uncover and report the misdeeds of the White House, and so-called journalists will shoot the messengers?
If so, I guess the left's new mantra is "Defend Authority From All Who Question It!"