Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Both Sides Now: Van Jones' Conversion

Years ago, after CNN's pundit Van Jones left the Obama White House after being pilloried by right-wing media for his radical activism in the 1990s, he turned to the airwaves as a guest contributor espousing progressive causes. Over the succeeding years, Jones' politics seem to have adjusted to the style preferred by corporate media, by toning down and trimming his views for more mass consumption. He was rightfully slammed for saying neo-fascist con man Donald "Rump" Trump "became President" after cynically using a Navy SEAL's widow as a prop in his speech to Congress., something he says he doesn't regret. But how does someone who wants to be taken seriously as a progressive come up with this "both sides do it" drivel from an interview with the Daily Beast?:
"....I think most viewers will tell you that they think most people are spinning them or just sticking up for their own side at all costs. It’s not just the right-wing that does that, the left-wing does that too. [snip] I’m not going out to Arizona and West Virginia and rural Ohio to try to make people look bad, to try to trick them into exposing that they’re actually dumb bigots. (ed.: when they actually are) That’s not what I’m doing. I’m really, honestly trying to understand, why do people feel the way they feel? And why did they vote the way they voted? And it’s been a transformative experience to sit in the homes of Trump voters and say, some of these people are better people than I am. They work harder, they care more about their neighborhood. (ed.: and they don't want you moving next door) [snip] My show is called The Messy Truth and it’s because I think both sides are responsible for the mess we’re in. Democrats have, at times, been too elitist and too divorced from small-town America and the voting definitely shows that."
There's plenty more of that in the interview, interspersed with defensive  "I'm really a progressive, really I am" -type pleading. He even laughably casts himself as a beleaguered, truth-telling Luke Skywalker after his lauding of Rump's cynical speech moment went south with progressives.

Jones says that his constituency "is all the poor folks," but it appears that, with his turn to both siderism, his constituency is actually the suits at CNN and across the Fox Lite landscape. Better in his mind to be a well-paid, opportunistic hack, who was just "rewarded" with his own TV show,  than to become part of "the poor folks" that he imagines to be his constituency.

No comments: