If you don't know who Van Jones is, then, well, you apparently don't watch enough Fox News Channel. Jones is the current bete noire of FNC, especially its new frontman Glenn Beck; ostensibly because of the fiery things he's said and done in fighting for his "Communist" notions that poor communities don't deserve toxic waste dumps or that someone should be a watchdog against police brutality (because God knows that the cops and/or City Hall won't do it, not very well anyway). The real reason for all this, which Beck won't disclose, which would be unethical...if he were an actual journalist, is that Jones -- who's also a special advisor for "green jobs" to the Obama administration -- head a group leading a surprising successful boycott of Beck's advertisers.
I'm pretty sure that Glenn Beck has actually never met Van Jones, but listen to the scathing words that a top conservative -- Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO and advisor to John McCain, now 2010 GOP candidate for governor in California -- uttered after she actually did hang out with Jones:
There’s a guy over in Oakland, I think his name is Van Jones. And he and I were on a cruise last summer in the Arctic, on climate change. And I got to know him very well. And a lot of the work he’s doing to enfranchise broader communities I’m a big fan of. He’s doing a marvelous job… I’m a huge fan of his. He is very bright, very articulate, very passionate. I think he is exactly right.
Here's Jones in his own words:
“Your goal has to be to get the greenest solutions to the poorest people,” Jones told me. “That’s the only goal that’s morally compelling enough to generate enough energy to pull this transition off. The challenge is making this an everybody movement, so your main icons are Joe Six-Pack—Joe the Plumber—becoming Joe the Solar Guy, or that kid on the street corner putting down his handgun, picking up a caulk gun.”
Am I going to defend every word that Van Jones has ever uttered? No. Fox claims he's a supporter of Mumia Abu Jamal -- without mainstream verification I'll say that if that's true, that's a case of serious ignorance on his part (and every other of my fellow liberals from out-of-town who spout off on the Danny Faulkner case without knowing the facts); and at a time in 2004 when we forget that the Bush administration still was holding back basic information (as this wacko...the late Walter Cronkite, have you heard of him?...pointed out that same year), Jones signed a statement on a 9/11 probe that went too far and certainly looks foolish in 2009. These things are not at the core of the good work he does, however.
The bottom line is that Van Jones is working, right now, to improve the environment and create jobs in the communities where they're most needed, which means that he's working to make America a better place.
And Glenn Beck is working, right now, to make America a better place by...???