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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Van Jones Resignation

Has marriage made Law Professor Ann Althouse cranky?

It appears to me she was all over The New York Times this morning over their story on the resignation of Obama Administration Environmental Czar Van Jones.  The fact is, Mr Jones has been a subject of some controversy over the last few days, but The Times has been ignoring the subject up until an early Sunday morning (the first dateline I saw was about 6:05 this morning) announcement by the White House.

But, who is Anthony "Van" Jones?  He is a thirty-nine year old lawyer, environmental advocate and civil rights activist.  In March of this year he was appointed by President Obama to be Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

The bigger problem is The New York Times.  As Professor Althouse points out in her Blog Post, the announcement of the resignation is the first time The Times touches the issue.

Actually, the on-line New York Times "Caucus" Blog touched on this Saturday.  Here is part of the posting:
Mr. Jones was caught on tape using an unprintable word to describe Republicans and allowed his name to be put on a letter requesting an investigation of whether the Bush administration allowed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to happen as a pretext for war. Republicans say theses incidents call into question his ability to handle the $80 billion in tax payer dollars he’s budgeted.
Professor Althouse thinks this is a quibble.  She notes that the petition conveyed a different meaning:
The petition — read it — "calls for immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war." (Boldface added.)
Unlike my wife, I am not sure Mr Jones had to go.  He has been sloppy in ways that can get you in trouble in our Nation's Capitol.  At least he wasn't down by the Jefferson Memorial with this decade's version of Fanne Foxe. And, I still have some faith in the US Congress to police the Administration, as is their responsibility, regardless of parties in power.

That said, I do believe the key point is that it is time for The New York Times (and others) to get serious about news reporting in all its outlets.  Our democracy depends upon a press that is inquiring and not in bed with whatever administration is in power.

The NRO claims that like the withdrawal of Chas Freeman to be Director of National Intelligence, the MSM didn't talk about this until it was all over.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There are some who think that the use of Czar (or Tsar) to describe the head of this or that Administration program is just an effort at put-down.  I think that such a view misses the fact that the term, used properly, captures the fact that this person is outside the normal process, is responsible to the President, and (best I can tell) is not approved by the US Senate, the way some Cabinet Secretary or other political appointee would be.  Some, such as retired admiral Dennis Blair, has Czar-like responsibilities, but are in billets that require Senate Confirmation. They should not be known as Czars.
  I would think the White House plan would be to avoid the Sunday hard copy newspapers and have the announcement be OBE'd before the Monday papers go to bed.  At least that is the way I would have played it.
  In fairness, the published article in the paper itself hews closer to the original statement, using the phrase "... including his derogatory statements about Republicans in February and his signature on a 2004 letter suggesting that former President George W. Bush might have knowingly allowed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to occur in order to use them as a “pre-text to war.”"
  This is not to deny his past communist or pseudo-communist associations and his declaration that he became a communist.  For one thing, people change.  For another, we don't think the President would actually hire a known communist, or that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would allow him to do that, do we?  While most American's couldn't spell VENONA, most instinctively react badly to the idea of Communists in their Federal Government.

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