For the most part, I’m on one accord with this writer’s assessment of Van Jones. I guess given my own criticism of the so called green czar, that’s to be expected. But having said that, I do take issue with this particularly lazy assessment :
When CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux suggested to Jones last week that he might be a “leader” of the Occupy Movement, Jones demurred saying, “There are a lot of us,” and that the movement is “leader filled.”
“All right, Van Jones, you might at least be a spokesperson, you know, maybe not a leader, but certainly a good spokesperson for the group,” Malveaux replied, according to a transcript, thus expressing the desire of the corporate media to appoint our leaders. Like Time magazine, CNN wants to make Jones a spokesperson for the movement. (Conservative commentators also find Jones useful as a straw man/leader whom they can attack.)
It’s lazy because it doesn’t explore other considerations for Malveaux’s appraisal of Jones. Although it is true that black folks don’t give nearly as much thought to “the man” as white folks seem to believe, it’s just as true that we do gauge each other. We notice our own rising stars and offer support where we can. Malveaux was offering a supportive voice to a black man who some believe got a raw deal from the Obama administration. I understand that.
We’re all guilty of vilifying the “corporate media”, but it’s sometimes important to consider that the media is made up of individuals, all of whom have their own set of struggles and ambitions. I doubt very seriously that Malveaux received a note before the broadcast requiring her to speak glowingly of Van Jones, nor did she have some sort of diabolical plan in mind. Malveaux’s assessment of Jones is based on the mainstream interpretation of who he is and what he stands for. And taking that into account, Malveaux was asking a question that many people were thinking; why doesn’t Van Jones replace his now defunct Rebuild the Dream with Occupy Wall Street? The answer is, of course, he can’t. He’s no longer trusted by the grassroots or the netroots. And it would’ve been helpful if CNN had invited someone from the Occupy movement to make that case during the segment. It certainly would’ve made for good TV.
- Dr. Julianne Malveaux: What Does Occupy Wall Street Want Anyway? (yourblackpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Can The Disgraced Van Jones Build A Left-Wing Version Of The Tea Party? (businessinsider.com)
- Van Jones and Bill McKibben: Making Some Noise to Protect the Future of the 99 Percent (thinkprogress.org)