Now we know who ultimately signed off on Van Jones, Stacy McCain jokes:
As Allah says, there is every reason to believe that Team Obama never imagined Van Jones — whose “czar” gig didn’t require a Senate confirmation hearing — would be subjected to any serious level of public scrutiny. On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to outsource the vetting process to Leonardo DiCaprio:
When Van Jones was tapped to serve as special adviser on green jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality earlier this year, the appointment was heralded as a significant development for the green movement. . . .
In less than two years, Jones has risen from local grass-roots organizer to shepherd of a national movement to build an inclusive green economy — one that connects the people who most need work to the work that most needs to be done. . . . Steadily — by redefining green — Jones is making sure that our planet and our people will not just survive but also thrive in a clean-energy economy. . . .
– Leonardo DiCaprio, Time Magazine, “The 2009 Time 100”
Hat-tip to Tim Blair.
As Brent Bozell wrote in 2000, ABC endured more than their fair share of sarcasm for hiring DiCaprio to interview then-President Clinton:
The organizers of Earth Day 2000 cast movie star and “Titanic” teen-titillator Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role of their Washington protest. Consider the movie poster: “First he saved Kate Winslet. Now he’s saving the planet.”
Just don’t think they’re thrilled with their casting. Crusty radical Earth Day boss Denis Hayes admitted to the Boston Globe, “Sure, it’d be preferable if policy issues could be discussed on a higher plane, but we live where we live.'” It doesn’t help that DiCaprio has done his part in this year’s main Earth Day theme — shadowboxing against the phantom of “global warming” — by owning a series of sport-utility vehicles.
But ABC’s “news division” trumped that by inviting 25-years-young Leonardo to interview Bill Clinton for a one-hour Earth Day special. When the Earth-friendly compost hit the fan, ABC News President David Westin started dissembling. First, he sent an internal e-mail that quickly leaked to the press denying a DiCaprio interview: “We did not send him to interview the President. No one is that stupid…All roles of journalists must be played by journalists (duh!).”
Other ABC flacks dissembled, too. Senior Vice President Phyllis McGrady, who’s in charge of the Earth Day special, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Obviously, we’re not going to send Leo to the White House to interview the President. We have plenty of qualified people here to do that.”
But then gleeful reporters found that ABC News had sent no less than four camera crews to chronicle the White House non-interview, and Westin had to admit that his e-mail was, as they say, no longer operative. The new spin: “We had worked with DiCaprio to prepare some very substantive, policy-oriented questions,” which did result in an interview. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re walking or sitting.” Looks like it depends on what the meaning of “is” is, and all that.
For his truth-twisting efforts, Westin received the ultimate punishment: being ridiculed by President Clinton at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner. “Don’t you news people ever learn? It isn’t the mistake that kills you, it’s the cover-up.”
Incidentally, I wonder how much Bill and Hillary are enjoying Barry’s latest predicament.