You have to see it to believe it. The singular lesson of the past week, after big media failed to uncover Jones’s Truther past and then actively suppressed it when it broke online, is that they can’t be trusted to chase stories that are inconvenient to The One — especially if doing so would burnish Glenn Beck’s credibility. And yet here they are, through two of their priestlier representatives, warning the public that only a fool would play in the “open sewer” that is the Internet, where lies and smears and video clips that the networks won’t show of Obama administration officials calling Republicans “assholes” flow insidiously onward. Plenty of viewers will believe them, too: Remember, for many, their first taste of the Van Jones story came this morning, and no sooner did they hear about it than a trusted figure like Tom Brokaw appeared to dismiss it as a smear campaign. You couldn’t script a more Orwellian ending. Friedman actually goes so far as to call this a cautionary tale about how everyone’s a potential target in the age of mass media. Hey, Tom? He’s a Truther in charge of $60 billion in taxpayer money. We’re not talking about some alderman here who got caught saying something off-color at the Dairy Queen. Quoth Jonah Goldberg: “What a tragedy that fewer people will support cop-killers and anti-American conspiracy groups because of poor Van Jones chilling effect on the culture.”

Oh, and speaking of whitewashes, the White House wants you to believe that they didn’t know about any of it.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter, said Sunday that Jones’s past was not studied as intensively as other advisers because of his relatively low rank.

Jones’s position, for example, did not require Senate confirmation. So he avoided the kind of vetting Cabinet officials were subjected to…

“He was not as thoroughly vetted as other administration officials,” the official said. “It’s fair to say there were unknowns.”

Valerie Jarrett seemed pretty excited about him, so presumably she had an inkling about his past. But even if they’re telling the truth and somehow the multiple-page questionnaire all administration officials are required to fill out wasn’t broad enough to catch, ahem, Trutherism, this is nothing less than a confession by the White House that its czars might very well be unsavory characters with skeletons in their closets. Why vet them if they don’t have to pass the Senate, right? And if you do vet them and conclude that they can’t pass the Senate — as almost certainly happened with Jones — then just make them a czar and the problem is solved. It’s not like Tom Brokaw or Tom Friedman is going to hassle you. Exit quotation from Glenn Beck: “The American people stood up and demanded answers. Instead of providing them, the Administration had Jones resign under cover of darkness.” Click the image to watch.