How Van Jones Is Trying to Bridge a Politically Polarized America

By A.J. Katz 

This week’s Adweek features a list of 15 Political Power Players: the TV, print and digital correspondents whose coverage of the Trump administration has stood out in its first 70 days. TV newsers who made the list include CNN’s Van Jones (on our cover), Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, ABC’s Cecilia Vega, CNN’s Jim Acosta, and CBN News’s David Brody.

Our Q&A with Jones touched on how he’s covering the Trump administration and his rocky road through the early days of the Obama White House when a public fued with then Fox News host Glenn Beck became too much of a distraction. “It was very painful at the time, and I didn’t think that I would ever recover professionally or emotionally,” Jones admitted. “But anyone who’s gone through something really tough like that has to just keep on living because neither success nor failures are permanent conditions.”

He did recover, and signed on with CNN in 2013. He’s now hosting the CNN special series The Messy Truth. “I’m trying to get to a place where we can have a different kind of conversation where the goal isn’t just to bludgeon the other side with your talking points, but it’s really something more basic, which is the quest to understand and to be understood.”


Adweek: So, it can’t be politics 24-7. How do you decompress?

Jones: Well, I’m still a geek—comic books, science fiction, anything science related. Fundamentally, I’m a DC comic book kid that somehow wound up being six-foot-one and 190 pounds. So I can now go around and try to enact some of those fantasies from childhood that’s, you know, standing up to a bad guy or sticking up for the people who need a little bit of help.


Photography by Sasha Maslov for Adweek