The L.A. Times‘s Peter Wallsten runs interference for Obama and Van Jones, framing the controversy as a political attack fostered by right-wing media:
Responding to a firestorm that raged almost entirely on conservative talk shows and websites, the White House today announced the resignation of a top environmental advisor who had made fiery remarks about Republicans and signed a petition questioning whether the U.S. government had any role in planning the Sept. 11 attacks.
Could it be any clearer? These are not legitimate complaints, Peter Wallsten is telling you with his wording. These were politically motivated complaints generated by right-wing extremists.
Of course, the real reason that the controversy raged almost entirely on conservative media is because traditional media were not doing their fucking jobs. As far as I am aware, only one guy was nonpartisan enough to pursue this story: Jake Tapper. Everyone else sort of hoped it would go away.
It’s truly amazing, isn’t it? You ignore a story, and then use the fact that you have ignored it to discredit the notion that it’s news. Now that’s ballsy!
Of course, it is news when an advisor to a President signs a petition questioning whether the U.S. was behind 9/11. It is news when a famously post-partisan president chooses an advisor who has called Republicans “assholes” on tape (that is what Peter Wallsten means by “fiery remarks,” by the way; here at Patterico we cut through the bullshit and just tell it like it is).
But Wallsten doesn’t see it that way. Wallsten clearly believes that the Van Jones controversy was artificially generated, comparing it to election-era attacks on Obama that Wallsten also saw as political:
The controversy began bubbling to the surface over the last week, as conservative talk show hosts such as Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity homed in on Jones as the latest example of a “radical” associate of Obama.
It was a similar line of attack to that used by Republicans against Obama during last year’s presidential campaign. But in accepting Jones’ resignation over the weekend, White House officials in effect acknowledged that the president could ill afford such damage as he was already struggling to win congressional support for a healthcare overhaul.
Note the scare quotes around the word “radical” . . . because Trutherism isn’t really radical.
Wallsten does include the basic facts, eventually — including the fact that many will further question Obama’s vetting process, given that Jones’s speeches and evidence of his Truther leanings “could be found with simple Google searches.”
It’s just that it takes Wallsten 17 paragraphs to get there — and by the time readers learn the facts, they have already been indoctrinated with the “it’s a conservative media attack” spin.
Yes, I know: so the L.A. Times covers for Obama yet again; where’s the news in that?
The problem is, if you don’t point it out, they will claim they don’t do it. So I have to point it out when it happens. It’s a wearying job, but somebody’s gotta do it.