On Tuesday nightâ€™s episode of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the big, fat race card was dropped onto the head of Glenn Beck and all others who reported the truth about former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones.Â In an interview with Chris Hayes of The Nation, Olbermann and his guest made clear their belief that the people who brought down Jones are nothing more than racists and bigots.
Olbermann first claimed that Beck had attacked Jones because the latter runs Color of Change, an organization that helped pull advertising dollars away from Beck’s program. But Olbermann didn’t mention that though Jones did indeed found Color of Change, he no longer has any relationship with the group whatsoever. Olbermann also omitted the fact that Beck began pointing out problems with Jones long before this ad war had even begun. Nor did Olbermann address the fact that Jones was a â€œTrutherâ€ who believed the Bush administration helped orchestrate 9-11 as a means of creating a pretext for war.
Olbermann’s central thesis was that anyone who thinks ill of Van Jones is a racist. He got things rolling with a quoteÂ from John Anner, a good friend of Jones and a former chair of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (also founded by Jones):
â€œIt struck me, why go after this guy? He is a minor player, he has no power, no budget, why take him? It’s because he looks like Obama and he has all those same attributes of being well-educated and heâ€™s an electrifying speaker with an elite education.Â It seems to me that he is symbolic of what the Obama administration is and could be and that’s inspiring for me, but for some people on the right, it’s terrifying and threatening.â€
Olbermann then asked Chris Hayes if the criticisms of Jones could have been anything other than â€œa line of racist attacks.â€ Â Hayes replied,Â â€œRace absolutely plays a factor.Â Look no further than Glenn Beckâ€™s program.â€
Hayes upbraided Beck for having compared Jones to Jeremiah Wright, the infamous America-hating racist who served as Barack Obama‘s pastor for twenty years. Yet Hayes made no mention of the fact that there are audio quotes of the two preaching the very same things! As far as Hayes is concerned, Beck linked the two together just to say, in effect, â€œLook, another angry black guy.â€
Are we down to this?Â If bloggers or Fox News reporters actually dig up unflattering truths about someone who isnâ€™t a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, they are automatically bigots?Â The nonsense of it all became fully manifest at the end of the interview, when Olbermann and Hayes began speculating about which czar Beck might go after next. And that person — Cass Sunstein — was white! Did they not see that they were discrediting their entire argument about Beck’s alleged racial motives?
I thought the Age of Obama was going to get us past all this racism claptrap. Can we not judge people by the content of their character without being reflexively accused of condemning the color of their skin?Â I remember someone once dreamed that America would reach that goal. Personally, I’m ready for this “color of change.” Unfortunately, some of us are not there yet.