History always repeats.
Whenever a black leader emerges--one who tilts a little too far to the left--the Red Scare Brigade™ comes a-knockin'. When Ida Wells-Barnett dared to fight the wholesale lynching of black men, her reputation was attacked not only by the mainstream press (Hi, NY Times!) but by her own government, who sent operatives to her appearances in hopes of digging up dirt. When Paul Robeson decided he was tired of watching people being disrespected and disenfranchised, he was put under surveillance until his death. In fact, pick any "radical" black activist with a little shine from the last century and chances are he (or she) was intimately acquainted with Johnny Law. Because in America, challenging racial and economic injustice = not only getting in bed with pinko commies, but having all types of deviant sex with them.
So Van Jones becoming the latest casualty of the Red Scare Brigade™ shouldn't have been a shock. A cursory glance at any history book would've prepared us for what was coming. But even those of us who didn't use our books to level our gun cases were stunned. I was in the middle of a family barbecue when I got the Color of Change email announcing the news. I threw my phone across the table and released a level of invective that would've made my foul-mouthed grandmother blush. Hell, I was disgusted. The lunatic fringe had won another battle. And this time it was someone I'd actually admired.
Last spring, I chased Van Jones around for months in hopes of following up the piece I'd done on Majora Carter and her ongoing quest to put green jobs on the map. (I think I've blogged about my girlcrush on Carter here before. If you don't know who she is, Google her.) Anyway, we never got a chance to connect because dude was prepping for a gazillion things, including the first annual Green for All conference. His personal narrative was great; a quiet, geeky kid who idolized the Kennedys, propelled into activism after the Rodney King verdict. How can you NOT like a guy who decides to put his ivy league degree to use in the hood?
Jones' ascent to White House adviser was supposed to be another great chapter. But, thanks to Glenn Beck and Big Business™, it's a Wikipedia footnote. This is what happens when the Fourth Estate drops the ball. While everyone seems to be lamenting the death of print journalism, or engaged in heavy debate over the future of journalism, there seems to something key missing from the conversation:
You remember ethics, right?
...ok, maybe you don't. But once upon a time, before infotainment became the new journalism, before rich, bloated talk show hosts were considered the arbiters of truth and justice and the American Way, real journalists (with the exception of Robert Novak, RIP) were required to report facts, in full and in context. That what I was taught, at least. I'm not going to kid myself (or your guys) into believing that the profession was ever noble, because we all know what a crock of shit that is. But at least there were STANDARDS, and more people in the MSM willing to call out the bullshit, even if it cost them their careers. This is what the game needs more of.
Meh. Tired. Ending it here.