This is not the communist Truther he thought he knew.
Asked if controversial White House official Van Jones continues to enjoy the confidence of President Obama given recent revelations about his involvement with those who suggest the Bush administration knew about the 9/11 attacks and allowed them to happen in order to justify a war for oil, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs Friday morning would only say “he continues to work in this administration.”…
Gibbs said that that the “9/11 Truther” sentiments are “not something that the president agrees with.”
That’s from Tapper, who to my knowledge remains the one and only reporter from big media pursuing this story. The Times, WaPo, broadcast news — it’s a complete blackout, at least as of early this afternoon. (NBC’s blog mentioned it in passing at the end of this morning’s news recap, in a sneering aside about the “conservative media machine.”) Why would they cede the field to Jake when he’s pulling big traffic from the righty blogosphere for covering this? I don’t think it’s simply to protect The One; they covered Geithner’s and Daschle’s tax problems and they’re much bigger fish. I think it’s that they know Glenn Beck’s been after Jones for weeks and it pains them too much to give him credence by following his lead. It’s analogous to the NYT refusing to review Michelle’s book even though she’s been number one on their own bestseller list for more than a month. Who cares if her thesis about Obama’s culture of corruption is correct and newsworthy and obviously of great public interest? They’re not going to help promote the work of someone whom they dislike. The state of the media, 2009. As for Tapper, his willingness to take up stories circulating in the righty blogosphere that other outlets try to suppress might give him a lot more influence as a reporter going forward. The White House can spin the Jones story as just another Fox News vendetta against the administration if it’s only FNC covering it; if ABC’s on it too, that becomes impossible and the story becomes “legitimate.” From now on, think of Tapper as the swing vote in the press pool, I guess.
The GOP’s finally starting to pound the table about Jones now so he’s not long for this political world. Obama doesn’t need any political headaches with the big health-care speech set for next week. Over/under on when he’s gone is 3 p.m. tomorrow. While we wait for the bus to warm up, two questions. One: Howard Zinn, who also signed the Truther petition signed by Jones, tells Politico that the document he agreed to was much more restrained than the one published on the 9/11 Truth website. Given that Zinn has said plenty of other Truthery things in the past and that Jones has moved in radical crackpot circles his entire career, why should we take their word over the website’s? This is like a he said/she said between Holocaust deniers and flat earthers. None of them have any credibility, in which case Occam’s razor would suggest that (a) there was a petition, (b) it was presented to the signatories in its published form, and (c) they signed it. Besides, what sort of idiot wouldn’t realize that a petition from a site called 9/11 Truth might be freighted with untoward meaning? That’s like signing off on something you’ve received from HolocaustNeverHappened.net and then being surprised later when controversy erupts. Two: Was this really a vetting problem? Both John McCormack and Jeffrey Lord have pieces today citing White House staffers who claim Jones never would have made it through a standard background check. His only way into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would be if someone high up decided he was worth the gamble and hired him despite the background check’s findings. But who?
Update: Kaus takes the under and says Jones is gone by midnight.
Update: The good folks at Think Progress want you to know that Van “Republicans are assholes” Jones is all about the healing.