‘False, sensational’ clickbait: Van Jones hits back at Daily Beast over hit piece about Trump’s police reform
The article is based on “false, sensational charges – apparently designed to get clicks, shares, and likes,” Jones tweeted on Monday. He added that he had visited neither Washington, DC nor the White House since the Covid-19 pandemic started, or been included in any meetings about police reform.
“I didn’t know what was in the [executive order] until the day it was released,” he said.
(2/5) I have never been included in any meetings about police reform (not by phone, zoom, nada). I didn’t know what was in the EO until the day it was released.— Van Jones (@VanJones68) June 29, 2020
In a story published Sunday, the Beast editor-at-large Lloyd Grove claimed that Jones “actively participated” to “help fashion the order and guide the politics of the discussion” to where it was acceptable to both law enforcement and the left. This was based entirely on an anonymous person described as “a knowledgeable White House source.”
Grove then quoted a lot of Jones’s detractors, but also White House adviser Jared Kushner and reality star-turned prison reform activist Kim Kardashian West – who praised Jones’s work on the 2018 First Step Act, a reform of federal sentencing. None of the quotes were actually related to the executive order from two weeks ago, however.
EXCLUSIVE: CNN's Van Jones helped craft the Trump administration's weak, weak police reform bill. Then he went on TV to praise it. https://t.co/Xa24iqRWR6— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) June 29, 2020
The outlet painted Jones as seeking approval of “Jared and Kimye” and “upsetting his fellow Black activists, progressive policy advocates, and liberal Democrats by cozying up to the Trump White House.” Per Grove, the onetime Barack Obama aide has – gasp! – occasionally had dinner with Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, and it was they who introduced him to Kardashian and her husband Kanye West.
Grove’s article wasn’t just a comprehensive hit piece against Jones, but also lashed out at CNN, saying the network did not disclose that their contributor had worked on the executive order when he praised it on air. Jones called this accusation “doubly false” and demanded a correction.
Updating the story on Monday, the Beast changed “White House meetings” to “discussions” but doubled down on its assertions that Jones was involved.Also on rt.com ‘White liberal Hillary supporters bigger threat than the KKK’: CNN's Van Jones channels Malcolm X with warning
Just about the only thing tying Jones to current Trump administration efforts is an email from the office of Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), which said that he had “shared ideas for our team to consider” when putting together the JUSTICE Act.
“Van’s input was certainly a part of the process as we constructed the bill,” they added.
The JUSTICE act is nowhere near the same thing as Trump’s executive order, however. The far-reaching proposal – that was actually leaked to CNN by Scott earlier this month – ended up getting rejected by Senate Democrats last week, because it supposedly did not go far enough.
Interestingly, in a Sunday evening tweet the Beast editor Noah Schachtman noted that the original tweet should have said “executive order” and not “bill,” suggesting that Grove’s story had mixed up the two and treated Scott’s email as confirmation that it really wasn’t.
* Correction to that first tweet. Should read "police reform executive order," not "bill."— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) June 29, 2020
As for Jones, he says he will “continue to openly work across the aisle to help those trapped in the justice system. We need more of that these days, not less.”
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