Published September 07, 2009
Americans who rely on the network broadcasts or the nation's top newspapers for their news may have just learned about the weekend resignation of President Obama's "green jobs czar" or the firestorm of controversy that was set off weeks ago by the revelation of his past provocative statements.
Most of the major news outlets, like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CBS ignored the swelling heat surrounding former White House environmental adviser Van Jones and the videos surfacing of his controversial statements.
For weeks, conservative media led by FOX News commentator Glenn Beck has been criticizing Jones, a former self-avowed Marxist and anarchist, for his remarks and radical views, including his February denunciation of Republicans as "assholes" -- a statement that came to light on Wednesday.
Jones issued two apologies last week -- for his statement on Republicans and for signing a petition that suggested the U.S. government was involved in the Sept 11. terrorist attacks -- and the White House responded to the growing controversy on Friday. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Jones continued to work in the administration and asserted that the president didn't agree with his controversial statements.
Yet most of the media still didn't pay attention even after Gibbs' comment.
CBS News became the first of the three broadcast networks on Friday to note the controversy, but ABC's "World News" and "NBC Nightly News" again failed to report the story. After Jones' midnight resignation over the weekend, all three networks aired the story on their Sunday evening newscasts. The Washington Post offered its first story on Saturday yet The New York Times' print edition didn't publish its first story until Monday -- a story that appeared on the front page, under the fold.
Democratic strategist Julian Epstein defended the media, saying they strive to provide balanced reporting and that their "passing coverage" was similar to their reports on the controversy surrounding Sen. John McCain's religious adviser last year during his presidential bid.
"I think some of the media is guilty of not covering things that are occurring on the right," he told FOX News. "Other parts of the media are guilty of not covering things adequately that are occurring on the left. I think every news organization has to strive to be balanced on this."
The booming calls for Jones' resignation and questions over his ability to land such a position wasn't just coming from Republicans. Democrats and security experts weighed in, wondering how Jones could have passed thorough and lengthy background checks and still land the job.
A cursory search of Jones would have revealed some of his most controversial statements including a speech in 2005 when he injected race into Columbine massacre, saying that black students don't commit mass school shootings.
But Jones is towering figure in the environmental world. A New York Times best-selling author and Yale law school graduate, Jones was named by Time Magazine in 2008 as one of their "Environmental Heroes."
Obama has named nearly three dozen czars in his administration to advise him on topics ranging from the auto industry to manufacturing. Critics note that czars, unlike cabinet-level positions, do not face Senate confirmation and therefore are allowed access and influence to the president without the proper checks and balances.
FOX News' Kimberly Schwandt contributed to this report.