Over the weekend, as America took in one last gasp of summer, possible Truther and Communist sympathizer Van Jones, President Obama’s green-jobs point man, resigned. It was a victory for the conservatives, particularly Glenn Beck, who had been railing against the man’s skeleton-speckled history. But instead of basking in their triumph, some on the right can’t help but dwell on how the entire sordid scandal could have gone even better. Like, say, if the media had turned it into the same kind of firestorm that surrounded Reverend Wright. On Fox News yesterday, Brett Baier chronicled the mainstream media’s relative silence on the issue last week, and the Washington Examiner’s Byron York pointed to a similar lapse in coverage today.
“There was no mention of Jones by CBS, NBC, ABC, The Washington Post or The New York Times on Wednesday the night Jones first issued an apology for past statements,” Baier noted last night. But Jones’s apology on Wednesday was for referring to Republicans as “assholes” in a speech from February, a video of which recently surfaced. A low-level administration official engaging in partisan name-calling at a lecture months and months ago hardly seems that newsworthy.
The most damaging revelation about Jones, the one that made his continued presence in the administration politically untenable his signature on a 9/11 Truther petition wasn’t discovered until Thursday. By Friday, CBS, CNN, and the Daily News were covering the story, and by Saturday, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the New York Times online had written it up. On Sunday, of course, the news of Jones’s resignation was everywhere. Could the Times and network TV have covered it sooner, and more thoroughly? Of course. Perhaps their agenda really was to protect Obama, as York claims, or maybe they just have different standards of what merits attention. Who knows. But ultimately, what conservatives are left quibbling with is, at worst, a day or two-day delay (depending on the outlet) of the reporting of this story. It’s hard to blame them, though. We’d be cranky, too, if a rare, clear-cut victory over the Obama administration just happened to fall on Labor Day weekend, when Americans’ news awareness was close to nil.