Van Jones on the Sherrod Debacle

Obama’s former “green jobs” adviser Van Jones (another person who was forced to resign after a dishonest right wing smear campaign) has an op-ed in the New York Times about the zero-sum politics of personal destruction: Shirley Sherrod and Me.

UNDERSTAND how Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official who was forced to resign last week, must have felt.

Last year I, too, resigned from an administration job, after I uttered some ill-chosen words about the Republican Party and was accused — falsely — of signing my name to a petition being passed around by 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Partisan Web sites and pundits pounced, and I, too, saw my name go from obscurity to national infamy within hours.

Our situations aren’t exactly the same. Ms. Sherrod’s comments, in which she, a black woman, appeared to admit to racial discrimination against a white couple, were taken far out of context, while I truly did use a vulgarity.

But the way we were treated is strikingly similar, and it reveals a lot about the venal nature of Washington politics in the Internet era. In my case, the media rushed to judgment so quickly that I was never able to make clear that the group put my name on its Web site without my permission. The group finally admitted that it never had my signature, but by then it was too late.

Fortunately, Ms. Sherrod has been offered a new job. But our stories offer cautionary tales to anyone interested in taking a job in national politics.

The crazy smearing of Van Jones was one of several major breaking points between LGF and the entire rest of the right wing blogosphere; I refused to jump on this bandwagon, and did my best to point out that Jones was being railroaded — and received a deluge of hate mail and attacks from wingnut bloggers as a result. They were in full-out lynch mode and didn’t want to hear anything that might put a crimp in their hate buzz.

And it should be noted that the person behind this dishonest hatchet job on Van Jones, who Googled up Jones’s name on a 9/11 Truther petition (and then ignored all evidence that the signature was added without his knowledge) was none other than religious fanatic Jim Hoft.

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