Ethics Dunce: Van Jones

Slavery, 2014 style.

Slavery, 2014 style.

On this Sunday’s edition of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulis, the weekly gorge-rising moment occurred when former White House “czar” and alleged truther turned pundit Van Jones weighed in on the Donald Sterling saga, noting that in the NBA owner’s taped remarks he arrogantly alluded to the fact that his highly paid NBA players are dependent on him for their livelihood. To plenty of nods and amens around the table (the Sunday talk shows no longer even attempt to attempt partisan or ideological balance), Jones said that this “sounded more like 1814 than 2014.”

I will observe again, though no one in the panel was fair enough to because Sterling is disgusting and doesn’t deserve journalistic fairness, that these comments were spontaneous and off-the-cuff, and not designed to withstand the scrutiny of critical parsing and hostile analysis, as few private conversations are. But that is a secondary point.

The main point is that nobody in the ABC roundtable, including moderator Stephanopoulis, was impertinent, brave, professional or competent enough to note that last week, rancher Cliven Bundy was crucified for making an ignorant statement that minimized the horrors of slavery, and that Jones’s idiotic comparison was as bad or worse.

Apparently a black pundit absurdly comparing the treatment of elite NBA athletes who are paid multi-million dollar salaries with the black slaves of 1814 is benign and immune from criticism. Again, this is the racial double standard. If Jones thinks there is any valid comparisons between the living-large NBA millionaires and slaves, he is as ignorant as Bundy, who does not have multiple paying gigs in which he is obligated to enlighten the public and not deceive them, making Bundy the more forgivable of the two. He appears to be an ignorant dolt. Jones, however, is sinister.

To compound his offense, Jones then doubled down on his bogus slavery comparison by noting that there are only two black owners among the more than a hundred owners of major U.S. sports teams, and again mentioned 1814. There are plenty of black millionaires, including black athletes made rich by payments from white millionaires, who could purchase sports teams if they wanted to make that investment. Did Jones allege that there is been some illegal racist barrier to black ownership? No, because there isn’t. Was he alleging some conspiracy, or subtle racism? No—Jones, a racist, was suggesting that there is something inherently offensive about white employers having black employees, and calling for some vague billionaire affirmative action. Again, nobody had the integrity or the guts to challenge Jones’ innuendo by asking, “So what? What are you claiming, and what is your solution to the problem if it is a problem? Should teams have a demographically representative mix of players, meaning that about 60% of NBA players would lose their jobs? Are you saying that blacks should be made owners of NBA teams if they don’t have the resources to operate them? Are you saying that this is another disparate impact situation, where the numbers alone prove racist intent? If black moguls are smart enough to spend their money on less burdensome hobbies than owning sports teams, how does that impugn the sport, and what does it have to do with slavery?” When someone’s only objection to an individual is the color of their skin, that is racism. Van Jones believes that too many sports team owners are white, and he doesn’t care why. Black is better. Donald Sterling wanted his girl friend to bring fewer blacks to NBA games. Van Jones wants fewer whites to own sports teams. Both attitudes are racist, but Jones intentionally put his forward on national television, while Sterling thought he was having a private conversation.

Jones’s agenda, of course, is fear-mongering, racial distrust and division. Disgracefully, the pundits of the mainstream media are either content to push the agenda too, or are too craven to confront an African-American racist to his face.

8 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Van Jones

  1. So, what we’ve known for a long time: racism on the part of blacks is A-OK; racism by whites (expressed or not, and regardless of a Constitutional right for freedom of speech and thought) is reprehensible and punishable through a number of extra-legal means.

    Affirmative action and/or quotas for sports team owners? Affirmative action and/or quotas for PLAYERS? Affirmative action/quotas for Fortune 500 CEOs? Where are we headed? This wrong-headed remark by Van Jones, and the cowardice of the rest of the panel shouldn’t deserve a post, but it was on the air so people may even believe it. It shouldn’t be a touchy subject, but it is, so congratulations on your courage, Jack.

  2. That’s for sure. His stellar work with MoveOn.org is a great example of this. Anyway, this post is not about him as much as the media that gives him a pass about his fear-mongering, and his commitment to promoting racial distrust and divisiveness .

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