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Van Jones: Unfit for Print By: Kyle Smith
New York Post | Monday, September 14, 2009


“This is not an excuse,” the managing editor of The New York Times said after offering the following excuse for completely missing the Van Jones story, except in a blog post: “Our Washington bureau was somewhat short-staffed during the height of the pre-Labor Day vacation period.”

Here’s how long-staffed The New York Times actually is. Long after Glenn Beck reported — back in July — that Jones was history’s first communist czar, and even after Gateway Pundit reported, on Sept. 3, that Jones had signed a wackadoodle 9/11 “truther” petition, The Times sent two reporters to Boston (in a story published Friday, Sept. 4) to pre-report the non-story of Joseph P. Kennedy II’s run for Ted Kennedy’s seat. (He later said he wasn’t interested. Also, the picture of Joseph the Times ran was actually of his brother Max.)

On Sept. 5 (still no word about Van Jones being a Red Green), the Times’ crack political team informed us that the Naked Cowboy was dropping out of the mayoral race.

On Sept. 6, The Times broke the story that “Diane Sawyer, coolly regal, is a born anchor, albeit in an ever-evaporating sea” and, under a piece headlined “Reading Underground,” gave us all food for thought with the subhed, “Even while pressed against strangers, even while stumbling home from a party, New Yorkers read on the subway.”

Granted, the Times must devote a lot of personpower to its vast corrections column. But if it is so flush that it can afford to hire, like the boy with the shovel who follows the elephant in the parade, a personal fact checker for TV critic Alessandra Stanley, surely it can scrounge up an intern to report that there’s a communist truther working as the president’s green jobs czar, or that a congressman was demanding his resignation (Sept. 4).

Jill Abramson, the managing editor, admitted only to being “a beat behind” the story but added that the paper had caught up — after the saga was over. The EMS equivalent of this statement would be, “Sorry I didn’t take your 911 call for four days. At least I was in time for the funeral.”

Although Abramson’s excuse was not an excuse, she proceeded to offer another one: “Mr. Jones was not a high-ranking official.”

Oh. And here I was, thinking that he was “one of Mr. Obama’s top advisers,” as I was told by, well, The Times, on its Caucus blog on Sept. 5. Confusing, confusing.

Only in Timesland can you be in charge of doling out $80 billion in contracts (“A Small White House Program” — The Times’ John M. Broder, on Sept. 6) and be less important than the Naked Cowboy.

The Times was aware of the story, knew it was bigger than most of the stuff it puts in the paper every day, and had plenty of resources to cover it.

But The Times purposely ignored it because it was hoping that the story would go away, because it likes people like Comrade Jones and was hoping he wouldn’t be forced out. The Times doesn’t like people like Glenn Beck and didn’t want him to be able to claim Jones’s scalp. The Times’ prejudice blinded it to the fact that Jones’ fall became obvious on Friday, when a White House spokesman refused to defend him.

Newspaper of record? The Times isn’t so much a newspaper as a clique of high school girls sending IMs to like-minded friends about their feuds and faves and raves and rants. OMFG you guys! It’s no more objective than Beck is.

Jones wasn’t an obscure functionary. There was a huge profile devoted to him in The New Yorker back in January. He was a “legendary figure” in the environmental movement, says The Washington Post. He got four breathless fanzine pages devoted to him in Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s bestselling book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” He was a rising cstar, maybe even a supercstar.

To date, The Times has still not told its readers that Jones is or was a communist, calling this notion merely a charge made only by Republicans — we all know how nutty they are! — not as a fact.

Yet Jones said in 2005, “By August [of 1991], I was a communist” and “I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’ ” If Comrade Jones has disavowed communism, I couldn’t find any mention of it.

The Times continues to treat communism as a cute campus peccadillo like pot smoking or nude streaking. A Times think piece (Sept. 9) worried that Jones’ fall was “swift and personal.” Being a communist is personal but being the pregnant teen daughter of a vice presidential candidate is public business?

Beck doesn’t claim to be neutral, and neither should The Times. It doesn’t have to report both sides of the news any more than Beck has to give equal time to Janeane Garofalo.

But — in both cases — wouldn’t that be fun?




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