Glenn Beck’s Attack On Van Jones: Fantasies & Falsehoods

vanjones

UPDATE: Also cross-posted on HuffPo!

After smearing White House special advisor Van Jones for days on his show, Glenn Beck said on August 27, 2009: “I want to point out the silence; no one has challenged these facts — they just attack me personally.”

Well, the White House is wise to stay above the fray but someone has to set the record straight. And as the person who first hired Van Jones, initially as a legal intern and later as a legal fellow, I am in a unique position to know the truth.

And the truth is: Beck is fabricating his facts.

For instance: several times on his show, Beck has said or implied that Van went to prison for taking part in the Rodney King riots.

NO CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Van has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime. And just to be clear: Van was not even in Los Angeles during those tumultuous days.

I know because he was working for me – in San Francisco – when the four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. I was the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area when Van was an intern.

The verdicts came down on April 29, 1992. I remember Van (who was then a legal intern working with me from Yale Law School) coming into my office in San Francisco. Many of us, including Van, sat there together, listening to the news and weeping. We were all in a state of shock. That night, TV showed the tragic images of LA burning.

The next day, when an initially peaceful march in downtown San Francisco devolved into chaos, Van left the area in tears. He was not involved in any destructive activity. He even penned an essay despairing of the violence and the state of the country.

So how can Beck make such unsubstantiated claims?

THE TRUE STORY (FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE)

This is what really happened. On May 8, 1992, the week AFTER the Rodney King disturbances, I sent a staff attorney and Van out to be legal monitors at a peaceful march in San Francisco. The local police, perhaps understandably nervous, stopped the march and arrested hundreds of people – including all the legal monitors.

The matter was quickly sorted out; Van and my staff attorney were released within a few hours. All charges against them were dropped. Van was part of a successful class action lawsuit later; the City of San Francisco ultimately compensated him financially for his unjust arrest (a rare outcome).

So the unwarranted arrest at a peaceful march – for which the charges were dropped and for which Van was financially compensated – is the sole basis for the smear that he is some kind of dangerous criminal.

Van has spoken often about that difficult period 17 years ago – and its impact on him, as a young law student. But to imply that he was somehow a rioter who went to prison is absurd. Beck also bizarrely claims that Van was arrested in the Seattle WTO protests. That is just a flat-out falsehood.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Arrests and convictions are all a matter of public record. Beck is at best relying on internet rumors or even inventing claims to boost his ratings.

Beck is no more accurate with present facts than he is with past ones.

NOT A MYSTERIOUS “CZAR”

Beck has said repeatedly that Van is some kind of a mysterious “czar,” accountable to no one but the President. A simple internet search shows that this claim is false. A March 10, 2009, press release announced that Van was hired by the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality – to work on her staff as a “special advisor.”

In other words, Van is within the normal White House chain of command, reporting to an office confirmed by the United States Senate, just like most White House staffers. Media outlets sometimes use the “czar” shorthand. But the facts show that Van has no mysterious role or extra-constitutional powers.

Beck has implied on two occasions that Van Jones and other Obama appointees were not vetted by the FBI. False. I was interviewed in my own office by an FBI agent, dutifully vetting Van. Yet another fabrication on the part of Mr. Beck.

Beck also claims that Van has somehow gained control over $500 million in Green Jobs Act funding and can hand out millions of dollars at his whim. Again, that is patently ridiculous.

NO AUTHORITY TO HAND OUT BILLION$

The law is clear that the Department of Labor has authority over the program, with normal rules governing the funds. Anybody who thinks that a lone government official can pass out money, arbitrarily and without oversight, knows nothing about our legal system. A blizzard of lawsuits would stop any such scheme in its tracks, if one were ever put in place.

Perhaps more importantly: final authority at the Department of Labor lies with the Secretary of Labor. Anyone who thinks that a Senate-confirmed, Cabinet-level Secretary would cede control of a $500 million program to some mid-level White House staffer knows nothing about our political system. It is ridiculous.

PROMOTING BUSINESS-BASED SOLUTIONS

But I have to take on the worst one: Beck repeatedly and mistakenly asserts that Van is presently a communist.

Once again, this charge is easily refuted – most obviously by the pro-business, market-based ideas Van has promoted for years, including in his best-selling book, The Green Collar Economy. Van’s book is a veritable song of praise to capitalism, especially the socially responsible and eco-friendly kind.

Yes, for a while, Van and his student-aged friends ran around spouting 1960s rhetoric and romanticizing revolutionary icons. But that was years ago. Way back then, I counseled him to rethink his tactics and to work for change in wiser ways.

In time, he jettisoned his youthful notions and moved on to seek more effective and attainable solutions.

Fortunately for all of us, it looks like he has found some. Over the past several years, Van has emerged as the perhaps the nation’s chief proponent of using business-based solutions to create jobs and clean up the environment. In his book and his speeches, he highlights the key role of entrepreneurship in solving our nation’s problems.

THE ‘GREEN’ JACK KEMP?

Van believes in government clearing the way for private-sector innovation. In a YouTube clip, he said recently that progressives and conservatives should work together to find common ground and create a clean energy economy.

Van said: “We are not promoting welfare. We are promoting work. … We are not expanding entitlements. We are expanding enterprise and investment. … We are not trying to redistribute existing wealth. We are trying to reinvent an existing sector, so that we can create NEW wealth – by unleashing innovation and entrepreneurship. This should be common ground.”

He has been preaching that gospel, in various forms, for years and years. Van Jones is the nation’s “Green” Jack Kemp – using business-based solutions to attack poverty.

I found it interesting that Bill O’Reilly in his interview repeatedly asked Glenn Beck whether Van Jones’ youthful views had changed over time. Beck never answers those inquiries and instead keeps insisting that Van has championed these ideas recently. Again, that is simply not true.

QUOTES TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT

Upon investigation, it turns out that Beck is quoting (out of context) an article that in fact makes the OPPOSITE point.

The 2005 profile that Beck is flogging actually makes it crystal clear – even in the headline – that Jones has “renounced” his earlier views, matured and moved on. Van’s transformation is the entire point of the piece, and it is impossible that Beck does not know this.

Fortunately, O’Reilly seemed to sense the truth. I remember seeing O’Reilly interview Van Jones some time ago and was struck by how much respect O’Reilly showed for Jones. Perhaps O’Reilly’s knowing queries were prompted by that encounter.

When Van worked for me, he did exhibit that “know it all” quality that so many of us – myself included – have when we are young. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching him grow and blossom into a loving father and husband – and a creative, effective leader.

VAN JONES: A TRUE PATRIOT

Mr. Beck’s unfounded attacks are misleading and false. All of us who know Van are so very proud of him and the work he is doing to improve the lives of ALL Americans. He has touched and improved thousands of lives in the course of his career. Now he is in a position to help millions.

He will do well because Van is a true patriot, who loves his country. He has dedicated his life to trying to make it better – especially trying to uplift the poor, the left-out and the left-behind.

In his book, Van draws a distinction between “cheap patriotism” and “deep patriotism.” I highly recommend that chapter to Mr. Beck.

I do hope Van is keeping his head up, walking tall and continuing to fight for green businesses and green jobs. Our country needs more of them – and more people like Van.


50 thoughts on “Glenn Beck’s Attack On Van Jones: Fantasies & Falsehoods

  1. Thanks for setting the record straight, Eva. Having worked with Van as well in the mid-90s, I can attest that we need more individuals like Van working towards viable, market-oriented solutions to our nation’s problems. How said that “news” commentary has hit such a low standard.

  2. Thanks for setting the record straight, Eva. Having worked with Van as well in the mid-90s, I can attest that we need more individuals like Van working towards viable, market-oriented solutions to our nation’s problems. How said that “news” commentary has hit such a low standard.

  3. Eva, it is so sad to see Obama’s approval rating decline mostly because of the vituperative attacks that seem to get more and more traction and media attention. Thanks for sharing this valuable information so beautifully. Byron

  4. Eva, it is so sad to see Obama’s approval rating decline mostly because of the vituperative attacks that seem to get more and more traction and media attention. Thanks for sharing this valuable information so beautifully. Byron

  5. I was another peaceful demonstrator arrested with THOUSANDS of people during illegal sweeps by the SFPD in the days after the verdict. The settlement amounted to 1500 dollars EACH. The cops were in the wrong. As I recall a writer for Business Week was also picked up, along with a young mother who stepped out to get birthday candles, and had like 12 little kids at her house waiting for her return.

    Glenn Beck is a waste of skin and should not have a platform to spew LIES.

    I am appalled by what passes for political discourse in my country.

  6. I was another peaceful demonstrator arrested with THOUSANDS of people during illegal sweeps by the SFPD in the days after the verdict. The settlement amounted to 1500 dollars EACH. The cops were in the wrong. As I recall a writer for Business Week was also picked up, along with a young mother who stepped out to get birthday candles, and had like 12 little kids at her house waiting for her return.

    Glenn Beck is a waste of skin and should not have a platform to spew LIES.

    I am appalled by what passes for political discourse in my country.

  7. Oh, and thousands of us spent days in Santa Rita prison, where those among us viewed as gay were abused as well by the prison guards.

    Strangely one way they tortured the rest of us, was to have “Cops” playing on the boob tube for all of our stay in the loving arms of the state.

  8. Oh, and thousands of us spent days in Santa Rita prison, where those among us viewed as gay were abused as well by the prison guards.

    Strangely one way they tortured the rest of us, was to have “Cops” playing on the boob tube for all of our stay in the loving arms of the state.

  9. Fantastic. Thank you so much for this. I am so outraged that Beck’s underhanded, paranoia-inducing smears have gotten as much publicity as they have, and without hardly any rebuttal. This was much needed – a breath of fresh air.

  10. Fantastic. Thank you so much for this. I am so outraged that Beck’s underhanded, paranoia-inducing smears have gotten as much publicity as they have, and without hardly any rebuttal. This was much needed – a breath of fresh air.

  11. Thank you, Eva. That’s exactly the kind of response we need: to the point and factual. Something Beck and every other hack on Fox are not familiar with. Thanks for sticking up for Van so eloquently! Hope you are well, Sierra

  12. Thank you, Eva. That’s exactly the kind of response we need: to the point and factual. Something Beck and every other hack on Fox are not familiar with. Thanks for sticking up for Van so eloquently! Hope you are well, Sierra

  13. Eva:

    Thank you for a rational and complete defends of Van. I have known you for about twenty-five years and have known Van (although not closely) for about ten years. I trust and admire both of you.

    It is a shame that you had to write this and that almost no one who listens to Glen Beck will ever read it.

    — Chris Peeples –

  14. Eva:

    Thank you for a rational and complete defends of Van. I have known you for about twenty-five years and have known Van (although not closely) for about ten years. I trust and admire both of you.

    It is a shame that you had to write this and that almost no one who listens to Glen Beck will ever read it.

    — Chris Peeples –

  15. Van Jones is a local guy from Oakland, CA. I’ve followed him for years, since he was active with Ella Baker Center, and I would send guys from my anger management class who had been harrassed by police to his Cop Watch group. He has developed amazingly – and is one of the most charismatic men I know – when he “got it” about the importance of the environment, and then developed the connection with communities of Color, it was genius – and his talks with working class communities of Color about “green jobs” were funny, irreverent, and inspiring. I also watched him have a 200 person predominantly white environmental group all in tears about the continuing impact of racism – everyone wanted to become Bobby Kennedy. I / we were thrilled when he was appointed to his position with Obama –

    Glenn Beck is such a stupid trouble maker – he needs to be stopped. I’m sure most of you know about contacting the sponsoring corporations and requesting/insisting that they stop sponsoring hate speech.

  16. Van Jones is a local guy from Oakland, CA. I’ve followed him for years, since he was active with Ella Baker Center, and I would send guys from my anger management class who had been harrassed by police to his Cop Watch group. He has developed amazingly – and is one of the most charismatic men I know – when he “got it” about the importance of the environment, and then developed the connection with communities of Color, it was genius – and his talks with working class communities of Color about “green jobs” were funny, irreverent, and inspiring. I also watched him have a 200 person predominantly white environmental group all in tears about the continuing impact of racism – everyone wanted to become Bobby Kennedy. I / we were thrilled when he was appointed to his position with Obama –

    Glenn Beck is such a stupid trouble maker – he needs to be stopped. I’m sure most of you know about contacting the sponsoring corporations and requesting/insisting that they stop sponsoring hate speech.

  17. Perhaps the only thing that will stop the circulation of lies and half truths are libel suits. The truth does not seem to matter.

  18. Perhaps the only thing that will stop the circulation of lies and half truths are libel suits. The truth does not seem to matter.

  19. Eva, all,
    why are we still accepting that ‘being’ communist, actually, committing to communism, is a bad thing!!!?
    We still haven’t been able to accept that we must stand up for ourselves – as struggle for communism socialism does. Capitalism grinds us under, creates the divisions we live with today, now dividing Black against Black, as it has white against white – all us workers against our Owners.
    We’re still on the plantation. You would have us compete to be an owner – which obviously, as it further ruins Earth let alone maintains labor’s enslavement, capitalism does.
    Stop telling the lie that there can be/was good capitalism. I know you know better.
    Norma normaha@pacbell.net

  20. Eva, all,
    why are we still accepting that ‘being’ communist, actually, committing to communism, is a bad thing!!!?
    We still haven’t been able to accept that we must stand up for ourselves – as struggle for communism socialism does. Capitalism grinds us under, creates the divisions we live with today, now dividing Black against Black, as it has white against white – all us workers against our Owners.
    We’re still on the plantation. You would have us compete to be an owner – which obviously, as it further ruins Earth let alone maintains labor’s enslavement, capitalism does.
    Stop telling the lie that there can be/was good capitalism. I know you know better.
    Norma normaha@pacbell.net

  21. After a vigorous letter writing campaign from colorofchange.org members, several sponsors have dropped Glen Beck. He called Presidnet Barack Obama a racist and the members were just fed up with Glen Beck and pressured the sponsors and they dropped him. The complete list and the entire story can be found at colorof change.org.

    One thing is for sure, Glen Beck is obviously not interested in uplifting America with truth, but more into spinning, twisting, and distorting….he reminds me of a KKK type of guy, so does Rush, Hannity, and Dobbs. I would not be surprised if they were card carrying members….I wonder if Murdock is as well?

  22. After a vigorous letter writing campaign from colorofchange.org members, several sponsors have dropped Glen Beck. He called Presidnet Barack Obama a racist and the members were just fed up with Glen Beck and pressured the sponsors and they dropped him. The complete list and the entire story can be found at colorof change.org.

    One thing is for sure, Glen Beck is obviously not interested in uplifting America with truth, but more into spinning, twisting, and distorting….he reminds me of a KKK type of guy, so does Rush, Hannity, and Dobbs. I would not be surprised if they were card carrying members….I wonder if Murdock is as well?

  23. Thank you for this, I found it most interesting. I’m not sure why there are not more lawsuits for slander in situations like this, perhaps the people involved think the added publicity would be more detrimental. However, it continues to be a major concern that so much is said on TV that is simply not true. I don’t understand how we got freedom of speech mixed up with freedom of gossip and spreading negative rumors. . .

  24. Thank you for this, I found it most interesting. I’m not sure why there are not more lawsuits for slander in situations like this, perhaps the people involved think the added publicity would be more detrimental. However, it continues to be a major concern that so much is said on TV that is simply not true. I don’t understand how we got freedom of speech mixed up with freedom of gossip and spreading negative rumors. . .

  25. Quote Van Jones…. and after APRIL 29TH I WAS A COMMUNIST. Cass Sunstein animal rights radical, Mark Lloyd praises gov’t controlled media and Chevez then Rep Diane Watson praises Castro. May be Beck exercises a bit of hyperbole for emphasis but the core problem is the people Obama surrounds himself with.

    When the Health care scam goes down in flames followed by the Cap & Trade tax on breathing is killed President Barry will be a lame duck. Quack Quack!

  26. Quote Van Jones…. and after APRIL 29TH I WAS A COMMUNIST. Cass Sunstein animal rights radical, Mark Lloyd praises gov’t controlled media and Chevez then Rep Diane Watson praises Castro. May be Beck exercises a bit of hyperbole for emphasis but the core problem is the people Obama surrounds himself with.

    When the Health care scam goes down in flames followed by the Cap & Trade tax on breathing is killed President Barry will be a lame duck. Quack Quack!

  27. If there is cause for a libel lawsuit, then something would have been done and papers would have been served already. However, a libel suit could have the opposite effect that most posters here would like to see, which is Beck suffering greatly. Mr. Jones is best to not touch this situation because if he is hiding something, it would come up during the fact finding to support the libel claim and then he and everyone supporting him would be exposed for hiding the true facts. It is best for Van to just ignore this situation and keep doing what he is doing, otherwise it could be disasterous for him and the President to attack this legally.

  28. If there is cause for a libel lawsuit, then something would have been done and papers would have been served already. However, a libel suit could have the opposite effect that most posters here would like to see, which is Beck suffering greatly. Mr. Jones is best to not touch this situation because if he is hiding something, it would come up during the fact finding to support the libel claim and then he and everyone supporting him would be exposed for hiding the true facts. It is best for Van to just ignore this situation and keep doing what he is doing, otherwise it could be disasterous for him and the President to attack this legally.

  29. Editor: This comment is off-topic and includes unsubstantiated quotes.

    Civil Unrest and Obama’s Vision for America.

    Thomas Sowell: “What they are trying to do is create an America very unlike the America that has existed for centuries, the America that people have been attracted to by the millions from all over the world, the America that many generations of Americans have fought and died for. The thing associated with America, freedom, is precisely what must be destroyed if this is to be turned into a fundamentally different country, to suit Obama’s vision of a country and of himself.”

    Is Obama Lying to Americans?

    Obama: “I HAVE NOT SAID THAT I WAS A SINGLE PAYER SUPPORTER.”

    Obama: “I HAPPEN TO BE A PROPONENT OF A SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE PLAN.”

  30. Editor: This comment is off-topic and includes unsubstantiated quotes.

    Civil Unrest and Obama’s Vision for America.

    Thomas Sowell: “What they are trying to do is create an America very unlike the America that has existed for centuries, the America that people have been attracted to by the millions from all over the world, the America that many generations of Americans have fought and died for. The thing associated with America, freedom, is precisely what must be destroyed if this is to be turned into a fundamentally different country, to suit Obama’s vision of a country and of himself.”

    Is Obama Lying to Americans?

    Obama: “I HAVE NOT SAID THAT I WAS A SINGLE PAYER SUPPORTER.”

    Obama: “I HAPPEN TO BE A PROPONENT OF A SINGLE PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE PLAN.”

  31. Explain his claims to communism. you all sound like communists defending another communist. If it’s socialism you want move to a socialist country. All of you make me sick, constantly pushing your beliefs on others and calling everyone that doesn’t agree a racicst or a radical. I just can’t wait another 3 years till your movement is dead. I can’t imagine any of these wingnuts will get re-elected. Unfortunately there may not be a country left after you environmentalist, gun hating, tree hugging assholes get done with it. People before animals…if you don’t feel this way….stop taking medications(at some point most all was tested on an animals). And global warming is bullshit…it’s a cycle…it gets warm…it gets cold..been happening for millions of years. I know a lot of you people are educated, so I just can’t believe your that gulible.
    O ne

  32. Explain his claims to communism. you all sound like communists defending another communist. If it’s socialism you want move to a socialist country. All of you make me sick, constantly pushing your beliefs on others and calling everyone that doesn’t agree a racicst or a radical. I just can’t wait another 3 years till your movement is dead. I can’t imagine any of these wingnuts will get re-elected. Unfortunately there may not be a country left after you environmentalist, gun hating, tree hugging assholes get done with it. People before animals…if you don’t feel this way….stop taking medications(at some point most all was tested on an animals). And global warming is bullshit…it’s a cycle…it gets warm…it gets cold..been happening for millions of years. I know a lot of you people are educated, so I just can’t believe your that gulible.
    O ne

  33. Thanks Eva for standing and testifying on behalf of Van Jones. Glenn Beck is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts.

  34. Thanks Eva for standing and testifying on behalf of Van Jones. Glenn Beck is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts.

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  43. Thanks Eva for standing and testifying on behalf of Van Jones. Glenn Beck is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts.

  44. Thanks Eva for standing and testifying on behalf of Van Jones. Glenn Beck is entitled to his own opinion but not his own set of facts.

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