Continuing his apparent effort to replay the same four or five Van Jones clips ad infinitum, Glenn Beck punctuated his afternoon rambling today by demanding to know why the none of the reporters who have been interviewing Van Jones on his "rehab tour" have been "asking Van Jones if he's still a communist. Nobody will ask him if he rejected communism and rejected Marxism, if he now believes in the free market system."
Let me save those reporters the trouble of responding to Beck's demands. The reason why nobody asks Van Jones if he's "still a communist" is because it's common knowledge that he no longer holds the same communist ideals he once did.
PolitiFact examined this question way back in September, after Beck had been beating the "Van Jones is an avowed communist" drum for weeks. They wrote that the problem with Beck's cry is that the same article which Beck and others have cited to call Jones a communist -- a Nov. 2, 2005 East Bay Express profile of Jones -- also makes it pretty clear that he no longer holds those views.
Even before [STORM, a "socialist collective" Jones helped form] disbanded in 2002, the Express article says, "Jones began transforming his politics and work..."
According to the article, "He took an objective look at the movement's effectiveness and decided that the changes he was seeking were actually getting farther away. Not only did the left need to be more unified, he decided, it might also benefit from a fundamental shift in tactics. 'I realized that there are a lot of people who are capitalists - shudder, shudder - who are really committed to fairly significant change in the economy, and were having bigger impacts than me and a lot of my friends with our protest signs,' he said."
In recent years, Jones established himself as a leading, charismatic cheerleader for transitioning the American economy to green jobs.
The PolitiFact article went on to quote from Jones' book, The Green Collar Economy, and noted that it "doesn't sound Marxist to us." PolitiFact concluded:
Beck would have been on solid ground if he said Jones used to be a communist. Jones has been up front about that.
But Beck has repeatedly said Jones is a communist. Present tense. Although we could not find a comment in which Jones explicitly said why he is no longer one, we found ample evidence that he now believes capitalism is the best force for the social change he is seeking. So there's truth to Beck's claim in that Jones was a communist, but it's apparent he isn't any longer, as Beck suggests. So we find the claim Barely True.
Nearly six months later, and we've lowered any expectations that Beck would ever note this distinction.
- Glenn Beck