Midnight Self-Massacre

Given that Van Jones is a self-admitted(!) communist, I'm sure he'll appreciate the irony in experiencing firsthand what it's like to be airbrushed from history (at least temporarily). Jules Crittenden writes:

Gutless wonder of a conspiracy theorist quits gutless wonder of a White House in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Labor Day weekend. Good work, Rahm. It’ll be out of the papers by Tuesday. Given that the Van Jones Truther scandal was barely covered in the first place, it’s like it never happened.

However, Bernard Goldberg wonders how many times the legacy media can avoid covering a story that everyone knows about and maintain any shred of credibility:

When the so-called “Birthers” – a fringe group of right-wingers (many of whom have criticized me for calling them that) were screaming about how Barack Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was not our legitimate president, the New York Times was outraged and demanded that prominent Republicans denounce these screwballs.  But the Times never called on Democrats, prominent or otherwise, to denounce Van Jones. The “Birthers” are bad.  The “9/11 Truthers” are worse.

News editors have always argued that news judgment is subjective – and that they alone have to make decisions on what gets into the paper and what doesn’t.  Okay.  So what should we make of their news judgment in the matter of Van Jones?

Well, one possibility is that the editors at the New York Times just didn’t think the story was all that important – nothing more than “a phony story whipped up by crazy, vicious right-wingers,” as a friend of mine who no longer can stand to read the Times put it, “and they weren’t going to fall for it.”  Maybe the editors got together and said something like, “What’s the big deal about a top advisor to the President of the Untied States signing a petition that questions whether George W. Bush was somehow involved in the 9/11 attacks?”  If that’s what happened, then every editor at the Times should resign and go into a line of work where journalistic skills are not required.

But then there’s always that other possibility:  that they were covering for a president they’ve been rooting for since the day he announced his candidacy, a president they tried to turn into a Messiah, a president who is simply too historically important to fail.

I don’t know which it is.  And just between us:  I don’t really care!  What’s important is that a top advisor to the President of the United States had to resign even though the New York Times (and much of the MSM that takes its cues from the Times) tried to keep the mess off our radar screen.  Arrogant journalists probably figured, News is what WE say News is.  That may have been true once, but not anymore.

So let’s just call this latest round of bias and hypocrisy, one more self-inflicted mainstream media wound – one of many that sooner or later will finish them off.  And that’s the “inside job” they should really be worrying about.

On the other hand, Allahpundit describes how one of the more surreal events of the day probably played to the average television viewer -- Tom Brokaw and Tom Friedman discussing the story on NBC's Meet The Press:

You have to see it to believe it. The singular lesson of the past week, after big media failed to uncover Jones’s Truther past and then actively suppressed it when it broke online, is that they can’t be trusted to chase stories that are inconvenient to The One — especially if doing so would burnish Glenn Beck’s credibility. And yet here they are, through two of their priestlier representatives, warning the public that only a fool would play in the “open sewer” that is the Internet, where lies and smears and video clips that the networks won’t show of Obama administration officials calling Republicans “assholes” flow insidiously onward. Plenty of viewers will believe them, too: Remember, for many, their first taste of the Van Jones story came this morning, and no sooner did they hear about it than a trusted figure like Tom Brokaw appeared to dismiss it as a smear campaign. You couldn’t script a more Orwellian ending. Friedman actually goes so far as to call this a cautionary tale about how everyone’s a potential target in the age of mass media. Hey, Tom? He’s a Truther in charge of $60 billion in taxpayer money. We’re not talking about some alderman here who got caught saying something off-color at the Dairy Queen.

So no, this isn't that coup de grace for the MSM that Bernard appears to be imagining in his headline of "The Inside Job That Will Finish Them Off" and then walks back in his actual post, but the self-inflicted wounds certainly seem to be accelerating.

(For my PJM Political interview with Goldberg on his 2009 book, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Mediaclick here.)

Related: After joking, "I wonder if Al Gore regrets inventing the internet today?", Jimmie Bise of the Sundries Shack adds three salient points:

1) There wasn’t a single left-wing crackpot conspiracy that Jones didn’t believe, from “Bush knew” to “The CIA is poisoning black people” to “Mumia-Abu Jamal was framed”. Jones showed no independent thought at all. You could get a perfect summary of his political beliefs by reading the signs and banners at an International ANSWER rally. The idea that someone so utterly hidebound in his political thought could ever be in charge of an innovative and dynamic “green jobs” economy is laughable. So how did he end up in the White House? How did he get past the most intrusive vetting questionnaire in the history of vetting questionnaires? Well, it’s pretty clear that the White House thought him perfectly mainstream, which should tell you all you need to know about today’s Democratic Party.

2) Jones picked a really bad time to become a communist. According to Jones, he converted in prison in the early 1990s, not all that long after the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall fell. By that point, communism was a thoroughly and loudly discredited political and economic system which had never been successful anywhere it had ever been tried. People were so eager to flee communism that they tore down a wall with their bare hands to get away from it just a couple years before Van Jones declared it an awesome life philosophy. In other words, Van Jones went running toward a completely failed political ideology at the same time that most everyone who had ever followed it was running in the other direction. His conversion was like someone deciding to become the Detroit Lions biggest fan the week after the team went 0-16.

3) Isn’t it something that the MSM spent less time digging into Van Jones’ background than it did Joe Wurzelbacher’s? If the New York Times and the Washington Post had spilled half the ink the man named to an important and highly visible government post as it did on a plumber who dared to ask a question of a Presidential candidate who showed up on his front lawn one day, Jones would have resigned long before now.

Well yeah. But then, isn't it something that the MSM spent about as much time digging into Van Jones’ background as they did the actual president of the United States when he was on the campaign trail last year? And once a critical issue was raised, had a sudden case of collective ADD? Bill Ayers? Rev. Wright? Look, a pony!

Update: Don Surber detects a faint pulse in the legacy media:

The Saturday Night Special — Van Jones throwing himself under the bus — should end the story of the Marxist Troofer on the president’s staff.

Which would be a shame because the press should demand to know why a group founded by Van Jones pressured advertisers to boycott the Glenn Beck TV show in a ham-handed attempt to silence a critic — again.

Most of the press ignored this Nixonian tactic and will continue to do so.

Or will they?

Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik blogged: “Not for a second am I denying the recklessness of Beck’s words about the president, but the link between Jones and ColorOfChange is enough of a connection to raise questions in my mind about the propriety of an organization co-founded by an adviser to the president organizing a boycott against a broadcaster who criticized that president. Does this not sound like something out of the Richard Nixon-Spiro Agnew White House for dealing with so-called enemies in the press?”

It does to me.

But some guy in Poca, West Virginia, is not going to change the world.

Maybe Zurawik can rattle some cages.

When that story hops onboard the Acela and travels from Baltimore to liberal newspapers in DC or NY, let me know.