The Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik, in a discussion of media coverage from Ferguson on NPR’s “On the Media”, said CNN’s Van Jones had “absolutely no credentials” to be on the street reporting on violence that followed the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. Zurawik told NPR’s Bob Garfield that it was “outrageous” to have “one of the fiercest ideologues on cable television” reporting alongside anchors Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.
Jones used Twitter to sarcastically respond to Zurawik, asking “what if CNN used a Yale-educated attorney who won 1998 Reebok International Human Rights Award for his work on police abuse?” The reference, of course, is to Jones himself, who Robert Greenwald notes in The Huffington Post “appears to have been more qualified (and certainly more credentialed) to report on this particular story than almost anyone else in the television news business.”
Greenwald, the filmmaker behind viral videos like “Fox Attacks” and “The Real McCain” argues that Zurawik’s attack was at least misinformed, and maybe much more:
I was particularly troubled and offended by Zurawik’s diatribes, especially at a moment like this. Zurawik’s insults had too much in common with the standard line of attack on high-profile African-Americans — that they are “not qualified” for their jobs, in the first place.
After Jones earned his degree from the Yale Law School, he spent 10 years working on criminal justice issues — winning numerous victories and awards. He is uniquely qualified to help contextualize the events in Ferguson. And sure enough: Throughout that tragic night, Jones consistently made observations and drew connections that few others were making, offering his viewers unique insights.