So here’s the quick background, to bring you up to date:
On July 28, FOX News blowhard/crybaby Glenn Beck was a guest on his own channel’s morning show, FOX & Friends. During his time with them, Beck ad-libbed that he believes President Obama is a racist, and opined that Obama seemed to have “a deep-seated hatred of white people.” These comments, while sadly not remarkable coming from Beck, were outrageous enough on their face that one of FOX & Friends’ trio of hosts, Brian Kilmeade (himself no rocket scientist), objected, pointing out that many of Obama’s friends and top advisers are white.
Beyond that tepid objection, Media Matters noted Beck’s racially-charged comments, as did a few other places. But Beck is one of the people most responsible for the nearly fact-free and bad-crazy climate of poiltical discourse in which all of us find ourselves today. So I wasn’t overly surprised at the odiousness of Beck’s remarks, nor was I really expecting any consequences would befall him as a result of having made them. I guess I just figured that FOX News must have long since understood that this was the sort of thing Beck does regularly, and therefore they must not have a problem with it, given Mr. Beck’s continued employment at FOX.
While I’m sure that FOX’s executives,, left to their own devices, would never have mentioned their host’s remarks at all, they were NOT left to their own devices. A non-profit group called Color Of Change heard Becks’s remarks and launched a boycott campaign that has, in just a couple of weeks, proven more effective than any boycott in recent memory. In fact, as of this writing 57 separate companies have stopped advertising on Beck’s prime-time program.
Why is this important – especially in a post about Indiana Congressman Mike Pence? I’m getting to that. First, it shows that advertisers can be reached on the level of common sense with regard to brand identity. An assertive but not aggressive campaign to question advertisers regarding whether they truly wish to have their products associated with such kinds of wild-eyed and hateful rhetoric can be quite effective in exerting financial leverage against the host’s parent network or company. And in this particular instance, Color Of Change deserves the credit for showing the way…which is significant because….Van Jones is one of the founders of Color Of Change.
Who’s Van Jones? He is no longer active with Color Of Change, because his current job is (drum roll, please)…White House Council for Encironmental Quality Special Advisor for Green Jobs. And also, I suppose, because Color Of Change has made Glenn Beck (and probably Roger Ailes) hopping mad. Not that either of those two guys needed any excuse to despise President Obama, but now they can focus their rage in a “constructive” direction. To Beck, Color Of Change is Jones’ organization, and therefore, by extension, because Jones is part of Team Obama, it’s really Obama’s fault…or at least Obama can be targeted. Which is exactly what Beck and FOX have done in response: tried to get Jones fired by making him a liability for the White House. From today’s The Fix column in the Washington Post:
Jones, author of “The Green Collar Economy” and, since March, the special adviser for green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), has faced withering criticism from conservatives for weeks over his activist background. Fox News host Glenn Beck has been a leading voice in the criticism.(emphasis mine)
Surprise, surprise. NOT. In fact, if you’re still surprised that this is the sort of knee-capping manner in which FOX in particular and the GOP in general operate, then you haven’t been paying enough attention for several years. Like about fifteen. Anyway, the same Fix column in which I found the above nugget contained the following bit-‘o’-wonderfulness, too:
Meanwhile, the chairman of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.), called on Jones to quit or be fired, saying, “His extremist views and coarse rhetoric have no place in this administration or the public debate.”
It also quotes Mississippi Senator Kit Bond waxing flatulent along the same lines:
On Friday, Sen. Christopher Bond (Mo.), the ranking Republican on the Green Jobs and the New Economy subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee — which has oversight of the green jobs effort — called for a congressional oversight hearing into Jones’s “fitness” for his position.
No, really. “Fitness for the position” and “extremist views.” What Pence and Bond and the rest of the GOP caucus are in high dudgeon about is that Jones apparently called Republicans “assholes” in response to a question at a speech he gave before he joined the administration.
One wonders where these two fine, upstanding Republican
assholes Congressmen’s sense of outrage was when Dick “Dick” Cheney told Senator Pat Leahy on the floor of the US Senate to “go fuck yourself.”
Perhaps Cheney threatened to shoot them in the face if they criticized him like they’re now criticizing Van Jones. I mean, if Bond and Pence clutch their pearls and gasp so loudly over “assholes,” just think how they would have reacted to “go fuck yourself,” if they hadn’t been in fear of Cheney giving them a freelance facelift with his shotgun! What other explanation could there possibly be for these two fine, upstanding stalwarts of decency keeping mum over so much worse an affront to traditional American values? Heavens!
What? What’s that you say? You think Bond and Pence are just hypocritical partisan hacks, who richly deserved Jones’ depiction as “assholes?”