On Sunday the White House accepted the resignation of Van Jones, the Obama administration’s special adviser for environmental jobs. Jones’s resignation comes after several weeks of strong criticism from right-leaning media outlets, especially Fox News.
In late July, Jones became a target of Fox News’ Glenn Beck as the host criticized Jones for having what he described as “communist-anarchist” viewpoints. Around the same time, Beck appeared on the Fox News morning show “Fox and Friends” and made a now-infamous remark about President Obama, referring to him as “a racist” and saying that the President had a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Color Of Change, a Bay Area-based activist group that was co-founded by Jones, picked up on Beck’s inflammatory remarks and launched a campaign against the polarizing Fox personality, calling for advertisers to boycott his program, “The Glenn Beck Show.” The campaign led to over 50 advertisers withdrawing their commercials from the program but it did not seem to hurt Glenn Beck’s popularity and, in fact, it may have even helped raise his profile, as his show regularly drew nearly 3 million viewers per night during the boycott and ratings surged for the Fox News Channel.
As the Color of Change’s campaign against Beck grew, the Fox host launched an aggressive counter-offensive and dedicated an increasing amount of airtime to examining Jones’s political ties and past remarks. On the September 1st episode of his show, Beck described Jones as “an avowed radical communist, a revolutionary,” and mentioning Fox News’ high summer ratings, urged his viewers to “spread this information” to their “friends and neighbors.”
In his resignation letter, Jones made aggressive mention of his critics, saying that “opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”
Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and echoed Jones’s sentiment about a “smear campaign,” saying, “I think he was brought down.”
Weighing in on the resignation over the weekend, Beck said in a statement that the administration “had Jones resign under cover of darkness” and left many questions about the special advisor’s political ideology unanswered. The Fox News website lists the topic of Beck’s Tuesday show as “Van Jones is gone, but controversial czars remain in the White House.”