In the face of national tragedy, partisan news outlets often sow discord with predictable cynicism -- getting your viewers riled up is good for ratings. Last week's tragic shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been no exception.
But The Blaze, Glenn Beck's news and commentary site, heaped praise Monday on an unusual subject: civil rights and environmental activist Van Jones, whom Beck crusaded against for years as a host on Fox News.
“During a time when America’s racial divide could deepen, political commentator Van Jones offered some uplifting words about Charleston, South Carolina -- specifically its white citizens -- following the horrific massacre last week that left nine black people dead in a church,” The Blaze editor Kaitlyn Schallhorn wrote.
As many on the right blamed President Barack Obama or overly restrictive gun laws for the shooting, while many on the left pointed to lax gun regulations and the nation's history of racism, Jones remarked on the unity with which the Charleston community had responded to the tragedy, blurring racial divisions.
“The white community here is as heartbroken as the black community is here,” Jones told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union" on Sunday. “Here you can understand division. There’s none. There’s none. So something is happening here in Charleston, and I’m proud that we’re showing it.”
Jones told The Huffington Post he was taken aback by the praise from Beck's site.
“It was certainly a pleasant surprise for me when I got the Google alert to see something on that website to suggest that I might not have horns,” he said.
Scott Baker, editor-in-chief of The Blaze, said his staff was just reporting what it saw.
“The most important thing to readers of The Blaze is the truth -- the truth in Charleston this week is clearly the power of unity and forgiveness,” Baker said. "The role of faith in our personal, communal and civic lives is a central point of focus for The Blaze and is a daily part of our editorial discussions.”
In a Facebook post, Beck called Charleston “truly the ‘Holy City'" for the displays of solidarity he witnessed after visiting last week -- a sentiment Jones echoed.
“I don’t know anybody who went [to Charleston] who wasn’t powerfully impacted -- not just by the horror of what happened but by the beauty of the response,” Jones said.
“This racial purist was trying to unloose tide of hatred, to start a civil war,” he added, referring to Dylann Roof, who has been charged with murdering the nine victims of the shooting. “But in fact he seems to have touched off a tidal wave of love and reconciliation such that even Glenn Beck and I are on the same page."
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