For every action, there will be an equal and opposite reaction — except in politics, where the reaction usually outstrips the action. With the resignation of Van Jones for his 9/11 Truther flirtations (his version) or outright advocacy (which the evidence indicates) and the humiliation of the traditional media deliberately leaving themselves and their consumers behind the New Media on the story, the reaction will come, but not soon. Instead, we can expect the media to hold Republicans to the standards the conservative punditry imposed on Van Jones, and to be a lot more aggressive about it than they were with Jones himself.
What exactly does that mean? In the next Republican administration, we can expect a great deal of scrutiny for Presidential advisers. For one thing, it means that no one who ever expressed public support for Birthers to get the benefit of the doubt. The two conspiracy theories are different, but they both are entirely speculative and imagine dark conspiracies at the highest orbits of power, and neither have any actual direct evidence for support. Anyone who signed a Birther petition can expect to get bypassed for political appointments in a Republican White House with a halfway-decent vetting team, strictly on the basis of politics, in the wake of Jones’ resignation.
The media and the leftward parts of the New Media will get to work in the meantime on advisers and staffers of Republicans in Congress, and in the New Media itself. They will use the Van Jones Standard to launch attacks on high-profile conservatives, looking for everything from John Birch Society membership to militias and Birtherism as well. They have done this all along, but the Left and the media will find much more enthusiasm for these efforts in order to trade Van Jones’ scalp for one or more on the Right.
To some extent, this isn’t a bad trend. The nation could improve with a little more disavowing of conspiracy theorists and political extremists, although they tend to degrade into very damaging witch hunts more often than not. However, with the Democrats in charge of all the electoral organs of the federal government and the amateurish vetting at the White House, conservatives will have a much more target-rich environment than the Left for at least the next year.