Saturday night, Van Jones resigned from his job as the White House special adviser on Green Jobs.1 Van’s resignation came after a vicious smear campaign by Fox television host Glenn Beck, and it is the latest evidence of why our campaign against Beck is so important.
Van is a passionate thinker and leader and we are grateful to him for co-founding ColorOfChange. But this campaign is not about Van. It’s about stopping Glenn Beck, who has promised to take his witch-hunt to others in the administration. Beck’s overall plan is to create an atmosphere in which the White House can accomplish nothing, and he’s carrying it out by preying on race-based fears and mobilizing hate.
The good news is that our campaign is working. More than 175,000 of you have stood up, and advertisers have followed suit. As of today, 62 companies have stopped their ads from running on Beck’s show. Every national company with a name you’d recognize is gone. What’s left are mostly far-right groups and direct marketing companies selling things like gold coins and discounted exercise equipment.
The reality of Beck’s attacks on Van
After we launched this campaign, some bloggers and reporters tried to discredit the effort by claiming that the White House or Van was somehow involved, or that we launched the campaign to protect Van. It’s an absurd accusation. Van hasn’t worked with ColorOfChange in years, and when we decided to launch the campaign we didn’t even know that Beck had attacked him. The reality is that we began our campaign for the same reason 175,000 of you have now joined it: Glenn Beck called the president of the United States a “racist” who “has a deep seated hatred for White people,” which is part of a pattern of Beck using lies and distortions to race-bait and fear-monger.2
As Beck started losing advertisers in response to our campaign, he went into full-scale attack mode on Van–exaggerating or distorting his record on 23 shows and devoting an entire segment to discrediting him. Beck presented his attacks on Van as honest journalistic inquiry, while dishonestly failing to mention that Van co-founded the group leading a successful advertiser boycott against him.
But Beck’s real goals were clear: Take down Van. Undermine the White House. Set the stage for his followers to say our campaign was about protecting Van. And of course, create a distraction from our campaign and the real reasons major companies are ditching Beck’s show.
The problem with Beck
Glenn Beck’s show is described as news analysis and commentary, and he claims to be bringing his viewers “the facts”; but his attacks on the President’s character, agenda and advisers are anything but news. They are political character assassination of the worst form, relying on dishonesty, distortion, exaggeration, and fear. And Beck has promised to launch more attacks on new targets.3 Our country is facing numerous challenges, including a struggling economy, a climate and energy crisis, and a broken health care system. The media should be promoting thoughtful, rational dialogue about how to solve these problems, not launching dishonest political attacks to distract and divide us.
Our team is working hard to use all the tools at our disposal to take away Beck’s platform. In the coming weeks there will be more for you to do. But for now, we ask you to do something simple. If you haven’t done so already, please email your friends and family, and ask them to sign on to our campaign against Glenn Beck. There’s a message you can send them at the link below:
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
September 9th, 2009
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1. “White House Official Resigns After G.O.P. Criticism,” New York Times, 9-06-09
2. “Beck caps off week of race-baiting by calling Obama a ‘racist’,” Media Matters, 7-30-09
3. @glennbeck on Twitter, 9-03-09