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Van Jones and the Boycott of Glenn Beck

Posted on Sep 8, 2009

By Amy Goodman

Glenn Beck was mad. He’s the right-wing talk radio host who has a television program on the Fox News Channel. Advertisers were fleeing his Fox program en masse after the civil rights group Color of Change mounted a campaign urging advertisers to boycott Beck, who labeled President Barack Obama a “racist.” As the campaign progressed, Beck began his attacks against Van Jones. Jones was appointed by Obama in March to be special adviser for green jobs. He co-founded Color of Change four years ago. After weeks of attacks from Beck, Jones resigned his position at the White House last Sunday.

Beck said on “Fox & Friends,” the network’s morning show, July 28: “This president I think has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people. ... This guy is, I believe, a racist.” This inspired to launch its campaign urging advertisers to drop their sponsorship of Beck’s Fox program. The campaign had a powerful impact, with companies like Progressive Insurance, Geico and Procter & Gamble immediately pulling their advertising. Since then, more than 50 companies have joined, including Best Buy, Capital One, CVS, Discover, GMAC Financial Services, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Travelocity and Wal-Mart.

Van Jones was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2009. His book, “The Green Collar Economy,” was a national best-seller. A Yale Law School graduate, Jones didn’t go after the lucrative jobs that were available to him, but moved to San Francisco, where he founded Bay Area PoliceWatch, a hot line for victims of alleged police brutality. He then founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, based in Oakland, Calif., “a strategy and action center working for justice, opportunity and peace in urban America.” The center thrived, growing to a staff of more than 20 and building a solid record of fighting police violence and youth incarceration, along with spearheading green-job initiatives. The fusion of racial justice and economic and environmental sustainability is at the core of Jones’ work.

Jones told me last October: “The clean energy revolution ... would put literally millions of people to work, putting up solar panels all across the United States, weatherizing buildings so they don’t leak so much energy ... you could put Detroit back to work not making SUVs to destroy the world, but making wind turbines. We think that you can fight pollution and poverty at the same time.”

Beck alleged Jones was a former black nationalist and communist, that he signed a petition calling for a congressional investigation into the events of 9/11, and that Jones referred to Republicans as “assholes” in a February 2009 talk. (Beck failed to note that Jones referred to himself in the talk with the same term.) Jones apologized for the remark, which is more than George W. Bush did when recorded referring to New York Times reporter Adam Clymer with the same term in 2000.


Square, Site wide
Jones said Beck’s attacks were a “vicious smear campaign ... using lies and distortions to distract and divide.” Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said, “The only thing more outrageous than Mr. Beck’s attack on Van Jones is the fact that there are sponsors that continue to pay him to provide this type of offensive commentary.” He recalled Beck’s 2006 radio attack on a 7-year-old African-American girl, when Beck, responding to her poem about her heritage, said: “You want to go to Africa? I will personally purchase your airfare. I’ll do it. It’s one-way.”

Glenn Beck may claim a notch in his belt, but he’s also helped push Van Jones back into an arena where he can be much more effective, as a grass-roots organizer working for progressive change from outside the administration. And with groups like the NAACP paying more attention to Beck, the advertiser boycott of his show is unlikely to just go away.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times,” recently released in paperback.

© 2009 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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Hulk2008's avatar

By Hulk2008, September 9, 2009 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Hey NightHawk,
  You nailed yourself.  You said “It’s nearly as funny when a communist I work with told me….”.


Nuff’ said, Tovarich !!  Dos s’vedanya !

(Glenn Beck works in Rockefeller Center - where Beck keeps pointing out supposed soviet symbols in the intaglio.  Is there a connection there too, Kommisar ?)

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By DBM, September 9, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment


I find it hard to believe that the Bush administration was evil enought to have allowed 9/11 to occur despite the circumstantial evidence.  It seems more likely to me that they were monumentally inept and unlucky.

However, it’s not as insane as the idea that Obama was born in Kenya.  You’ll be wanting every Representative and Senator who has ever failed to clearly condemn this idea outright to resign correct?  You’d want to be consistent ...

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By Louise, September 9, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment


“It’s not complicated.”


Bigotry never is, and that about says it all.

Racism, blind hatred, fear and denial. The oh so human qualities we all like to think we can rise above. But it seems we cant. Prejudice, blind hatred, fear and denial, which we see in instant and tireless repitition from blogs and bloggers, Tweeterers and Twit’s. And we wonder, have we all gone mad?

Well we haven’t, we just haven’t finished growing up. 

The predictable GOP apologists jump on to use yet again, any issue to attack this administration, but even they don’t reflect the true depth of the problem, and it is a problem, because like it or not, the pure, white right guy is in the minority. And that scares the living b’jeebies out of them. They would rather have a complete idiot in charge, so long as he’s white and right, than accept honest intelligence that comes in a different color. So leave out all the rhetoric, all the explanation, all the personal attacks and all the he said, she said and Beck said and boil it down to one or two paragraphs.

Grown-ups know racial, ethnic and religious prejudice isn’t nice. And grown-ups know they shouldn’t feel that way, so grown-ups keep that prejudice burried in their souls. Until someone, or a lot of someones find a reason to target the other without actually saying, “he’s a different color, or religion, or race than me, so he threatens me.” And when those someones go public and the media high-lights their publicness, the grown-ups with a prejudice problem climb on board. Actually relieved they can pull that blind prejudice out of that dark place and act on it. It’s a relief to know they aren’t alone, and they can stop feeling guilty for not being able to grow up enough to accept everybody is different.

In short, the Glenn Becks of the world, who are indeed bigots, give the so-called grown-ups reason to stop fearing their own prejudice, and just let it all hang out. Maybe some day the grown-ups will grow up enough to see how silly targeting the other really is, because all it really does is shine the spotlight on their own failings. Besides, blind hatred is dangerous.

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By bojan, September 9, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can any of you america haters tell me how beck smeared anything? He
used the facts. I bet if hitler apologized you would say don’t smear him.
And it is 2009 any one who dare say there is racism around should be
arrested. Grow up animals!

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By dihey, September 9, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Here is the core of what Mr. Van Jones signed: [questioning whether the Bush administration] “may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext to war”.

I do not want to be governed by persons who supported such nonsense.

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By DBM, September 9, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Obama seems to me to have surrounded himself with corporatists and right-wingers.  If a stray progressive got through I can see how Fox News would get upset.  I’m not so sure I buy why anyone else ought to be interested in their opinion though.

I’ve no doubt that the “Van Jones Story” was “available on the internet” before Beck picked it up.  There’s are numerouse sites espousing radical right-wing views which would lap it up.  (I note that very few actually allow anonymous comment.)

If an advocate for the poor is “radical” but the corporate shills still in tight with the administration are not ... God Help the World.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 9, 2009 at 5:25 am Link to this comment

Greetings from Long Beach Island,

On vacation, and writing this on my dear old dad’s Apple type laptop, which
limits my time with you, but also limits my ability to link, and even to ‘cut and
paste’, since this interface is a mystery to me.

I have been reading all posts on the threads which I participated in, please
understand that my silence was not an abandonment of your conversation.

The article and the comments here need some commenting upon, although I
suspect that as usual, I will be dismissed as a parrot of the “RIGHT WING
EXTREMIST” etc etc.

Well, for once there is some truth to it, because I actually had time to watch
some Glenn Beck this week. I also heard him on the radio while traveling.

However, i do not see what any of Beck’s weaknesses has to do with Van Jones
himself and whether he should be serving in the US government or not. To put
it another way, even if Beck was an angel of logic and truth, the charges against
Van Jones still need to be evaluated on their own merits.

If you dont like Glenn Beck, thats a separate issue from whether van Jones is a
radical or not.

It really does no good to attack Beck. Making him the focus of the matter is a
deflection and avoidance of the questions raised. If the only issue is beck
himself, Obama would be on too happy to run against him like he did against

There is something seriously wrong with having an extremist like Van Jones in
the government. The fact that the Right leaning Fox news exposed Van Jones,
and that Glenn Beck apparently led the story(but it was available on the
internet before Beck picked it up) cannot be used to avoid the facts of the

The MSM didnt carry the story for a long time, which suggests that they have an
unhealthy amount of loyalty to the man they helped put in the White House.

Finally, the fact that Obama hasnt commented about this whole matter makes
me wonder what he really thinks about. Did he just have some radical leftists in
his government who hired Van Jones? Or does Obama himself approve of Van
Jones? I would like to think that Obama didnt know, and on learning the truth,
decided that Van Jones is unfit to serve in the US government.

Report this

By bogi666, September 9, 2009 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

The only thing that will make FOX news pay attention is to boycott its advertisers, the CIVIL RIGHTS BOYCOTT TACTICS MUST BE IMPLEMENTED NATIONALLY and trumpeted loudly. It’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel, the civil rights organization methods of the 50’s and 60’s, the boycott, work. Their are alternatives to Wal Mart, Target and Kmart come to mind, just to name a few. The internet provides the means to support boycotts and can be used for such.

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By ardee, September 9, 2009 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

Another example of the cowardice of this administration, in my opinion. Those like the obviously disturbed Beck, and his followers who ooze in here with their barely concealed racism and their distortion of reality, are certainly in the minority in this nation and responding to such insane drivel gives them an undeserved credibility.

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By Scott, September 9, 2009 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course, as everyone knows, this was just another rank display of racism. Just ask Charlie Rangel.

Here’s a related piece you might find funny, entitled “You’re Surely a Racist, If…”

Here’s a link:

Have a good one!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, September 9, 2009 at 12:29 am Link to this comment

It really doesn’t seem to matter what Obama does since he is forever labeled by his skin color.  It is truly sad that so many of us make our decisions about his abilities based on his being black.  It is a sad testament to how little we have changed over the centuries.  When, I’m wondering, will we learn?  Probably never.  Bigotry and hatred are basic human “qualities” which we will carry forever.

That said, there are issues with the president that transcend his ethnicity.  He does not possess the political skills of an LBJ or an FDR and that is killing any reasonable political progress.  You may love or hate his health care proposals but his inability to articulate a clear vision has clouded the discourse and allowed others to set the agenda.  I suspect the same with climate change and energy next year.

I’m also not impressed with many of his senior advisers.  Too many are from the Clinton administration and that indicates a pro-business bias I find disturbing.  His economic team does not instill confidence that they will make decisions for us and not their corporate masters.

I don’t understand all the vitriol about Van Jones.  He was advising on Green Jobs and finding ways to accelerate adoption of alternative energies.  I understand he is very knowledgeable in this area and was considered to be an excellent choice.  Why should his previous activities outside this area have become such a big deal?  Or is this more of the color issue discussed above?

I can only say one other thing ... is this really the time to be engaged in petty stupidity?  Our nation is heading towards the abyss and we are spending far too much time worrying about dumb things.  Obama is our president until January, 2013 and we need to help and encourage him to right the ship of state before it sinks.  Will his skin color really matter when our country is in such danger?  We need to stop the verbal wars and sit down to work out reasonable solutions to our growing problems.  Health care, energy and climate change need our attention NOW.  Waiting for another 10 years only makes things worse and harder to correct.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, September 9, 2009 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

Re: gstoddard

Your comment: “The irony of course is that Mr. Jones is done in by the selective citing of moments in his public life, while Glenn Beck’s frequent outrageous moments and irrational outburts are ignored by the media.

Well…maybe not by ALL the media, but sure… I hear ya’.  Ironic is such an understatement, at least in IMHO.

Good call.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, September 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

Re: KDelphi

Your comment: “Van Jones resigning just encourages people like Beck! Obama & Co. seem to care more what people like that think of him than what the people who put him in office think!”

I think maybe “Obama & Co.” excel in their work IN SPITE OF, what is being said.  Why do you not recognize this?  So far, they’ve done an outstanding job.  Everything is certainly not “hunky-dory”(sp?) but really….. who could expect more given the very REAL situations we, as a country face at this critical juncture?

I’d be remiss to discount those members of congress who ARE doing a good job…again, IN SPITE OF, all the rhetoric and lies.  There’s good people in this country…. but it’s going to take ALL of us.  It is what it is.

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By KDelphi, September 8, 2009 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

Van Jones resigning just encourages people like Beck! Obama & Co. seem to care more what people like that think of him than what the people who put him in office think!

Grow some cajones, Obama! People that watch Beck arent going to vote for you, dummy!

PatrickHenry—isnt that the truth. I went to a site to find out who was stil advertising on Beck so that I could boycott them and found that there were, sadly, no products worth buying, unless you need dick enlargement pills and like to watch “SPEED!”

Only fascists seem to see “communists ” everywhere—if you find them, tell them I’m looking to sign on.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 8, 2009 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

Night-Hawk certainly watches Beck because those are his talking points. A surrogate for him. Wonderful. Beck has already said today that Van Jones will be even more “dangerous” now that he is “below the RADAR” but he will be scrutinized still. Just now Beck is going to work his selective smear on the next ones. It is easy when you pick-and-choose what parts you will play up and ignore everything else. Like the fact that Obama has been keeping the fascist fires burning in so many things in our gov’t from the two wars to rendition to torture. Just like Bush/Cheney before him. Strange isn’t it Night-Hawk?

Like Van Jones who at one point in his life said he was a “communist” though since then he has said he is now a “capitalist” which Beck doesn’t because it is inconvenient. But then that is how he trolls.

Van Jones was just doing his little green jobs which would not change the way our gov’t is going to theocracy in a hand basket. The use of the term “czar/tsar” was started by that ardent liberal Richard M. Nixon and was enlarged by that other arch liberal Ronald W. Reagan and continued to expand other the next four presidents that followed. You never hear that part of the history from that hysterical histrionics professor Beck.

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By cann4ing, September 8, 2009 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

By Tom Berg, September 8 at 9:57 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

I am looking forward to more scrutiny of the rest of the people Obama has surrounded himself with that have not had to go through a confirmation process.


And I’m looking for more sponsors to withdraw their ads from the Glenn Beck propaganda hour.  57 already have.

I’d suggest some type of scrutiny for the people who actually believe anything Beck has to say, but I understand the psyche wards are already filled to the brim with the likes of Sarah Palin and Dick the-sociopath Cheney.

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By Pocky1, September 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi how to get rid of beck? Stuck with this fringe freak in phoenix, on Ktar talk radio from 12:00 pm-3:00.reason,I’am a medical courier. I listen to the traffic reports every half hour.Turn him off in between.Who would we call or contact?

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By DBM, September 8, 2009 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Nighthawk, Nighthawk, Nighthawk ...

Van Jones.  Prof. Gates.  Jeremiah Wright.  Barack Hussein Obama.

Let’s see what it is that these people you disapprove of are “exposed for what they truly are” ... ah yes ... it’s coming now ... Oh!  I get it! 

They’re BLACK!

... and they’re powerful and influential while you just troll the weblogs.  Wow, that must hurt.  You come back with a great zinger here and 20 people might see it (most will think you’re an asshole) but when Van Jones or Obama say anything the world is interested.

It’s a tough time to be a narrow-minded cracker ... Hey, but you’ve still got Beck.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 8, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

For Glenn Beck “mad” is a preexisting condition.
The pressure on advertisers should be expanded to
boycotting the entire Fox network as long as Beck is in
their employ.  Giving this man a platform to spread his
lunacy is as wise as sending teenagers to the beach in
a loaded beer truck.

Report this

By 911truthdotorg, September 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Charlie Sheen Requests Meeting With Obama Over 9/11 Cover-Up

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By Nighthawk, September 8, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

By pikawicca, September 8 at 9:49 pm #

Gosh pika.  That would cut deep if there were an element of truth to it.

It’s just more stupidity and denial on your part.

It’s nearly as funny when a communist I work with told me about the “big trouble” Beck was in for
making racist statements. 

I asked:“What statements?”

The answer?: “He said Obama was racist! We all know blacks can’t be racist!”

Guess he has the same disease you have.

Report this

By Tom Berg, September 8, 2009 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am looking forward to more scrutiny of the rest of the people Obama has surrounded himself with that have not had to go through a confirmation process.

Report this

By cann4ing, September 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

See, ‘High-Tech Lynching’ of Van Jones Signals McCarthyism Alive and Well.

Report this

By pikawicca, September 8, 2009 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Nighthawk, You would have benefited from ANY education, Muslim or otherwise.  You are obviously an enthusiastic member of the racist bandwagon.

Report this

By Dave Schwab, September 8, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Join the movement to draft Van Jones for governor of California!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, September 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm Link to this comment

Boycott Glenn Beck? I would have to start watching him in order to stop watching and boycott him.

I think I like my status quo and forget he exists.

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By Nighthawk, September 8, 2009 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

“as a grass-roots organizer working for progressive change from outside the administration.”

Riiight.  Except what he did was anything but grassroots.

Van Jones.  Prof. Gates.  Jeremiah Wright.  Barack Hussein Obama.

It’s not complicated.

Exposed for what they truly are.  Obviously it’s frustrating for the crackpot Left.

By gstoddard, September 8 at 8:00 pm #
“The irony of course is that Mr. Jones is done in by the selective citing of moments in his public life”

Utterly false.

Sad that you feel compelled to lie like that Stoddard.

It’s not “selective moments” It’s simply what defines Van Jones.  It’s what he is. 

It’s no different than Jeremiah Wright.  He is a Minister of God like you are Mary Poppins.
The religion of his Church is racism.  Obama gave Wright his rapt attention for 20 years.

You expect Obama to tell the truth about his feelings on the subject?

“My mother couldn’t afford to send me to the schools that all the other American kids went to.”

Actually Barry, she had plenty of alternatives.  She CHOSE to put you in a Muslim school.

If you can’t expect him to tell the truth about that, then you need to keep your expectations low.

Myself: I blame the teleprompter.

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By glider, September 8, 2009 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

I hope and suspect Jones has just gone on to greener pastures rather than caving in to the likes of the asshole supreme Glenn Beck.

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By gstoddard, September 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

The irony of course is that Mr. Jones is done in by the selective citing of moments in his public life, while Glenn Beck’s frequent outrageous moments and irrational outburts are ignored by the media.

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