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September 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET

Van Jones on watching “Crossfire” through the eyes of his father

With "Crossfire" returning to CNN this Monday, September 9, CNN is taking a closer look into the hosts' lives with a series of Web videos.

In this video, Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama for green jobs, reflects on his memories of watching “Crossfire” with his father and on his hopes for the future of the program.

Jones, who says he doesn’t come from a traditional Washington background, says as a teenager in the early 1980s, he learned a lot watching the program with his father, whom he describes as a “black ex-military Southerner” who didn’t agree with liberals or conservatives. “I got to understand through his eyes that there’s way more points of view in America than you can ever get on TV,” explains Jones. “So I’m excited about getting a chance to bring some of those perspectives.”

Jones also argues that after “Crossfire” went off the air, American media went downhill. With the relaunch of “Crossfire,” Jones maintains that the hosts will get beyond talking points quickly in a half-hour program: “In 22 minutes of television, you have to really get down to the secondary, the tertiary, the root of these debates and these discussions. I think America needs that.”

"Crossfire" returns to CNN Monday, September 9, at 6:30pm ET.

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  1. Stuart1937

    First, the good of the good & bad. I very much appreciate you comments on watching CrossFire with your Dad. Dads MUST instill values in their children. If you don't have that INSTILLED in you then keep control of you junk, or you will be a mence to society.
    A little on where I come from: 76 years old, worked until 75, was last employed via a Germany company, that laid me off "because of Obama being elected again and that and ObamaCare will destroy business. Not an exact quote but pretty close. They had to get the count below fifty and the hours for the remaining below 30. Born in DC in 37, son of career Navy. – Lived in Norfolk during WWII. Mother killed by teens racing while under the influence! Raised the rest of the way by Uncle – Dad in the Pacific (Korea, Vietnam) Worked everyday after school and summer in uncles shop with 5 black guys from SE Washington – consider the Getto in the day. They came on streetcars (no cars) everyday to Bethesda MD. and walked from the District Line. When we had big jobs, short deadlines, These black guys all came home for dinner with us. Two were in their 40s and WWII Vets. These were Americans, and proud of it. NOT one of them were African Americans. They were integrated!!! They were Martin King Americans! Not Jackson/Wright (GD America)/Sharpton African Americans. AND they understood history. They understood that the slave owners didn't go get the blacks for Africa, to cannibalize some of them to get then to this content, but that it was the Spaniards, the French, the Italians etc. on the North side of the Mediterranean Sea. They understood that slavery was a part of the system at the time. They didn't have the African American CHIP on their shoulders, They were Americans!
    In my job in International Std. I traveled the world for meetings I chaired. I knew many black guys from these various countries, but NO African French, NO African Spaniards, No African Italians. etc. Why, they were ALL Integrated.
    This African American nonsense pushed by the Sharpton, Jackson, Wrights. simply SHOUTS hey I am different and YOU have to change to my ways of thinking! If you want Integration then integrate!!! There are many many great AMERICANs thar just happen to have black skin, (so what). As Martin King said, it is CONTENT OF CHARACTER THAT COUNTS. HE is exactly correct !!!! A great America, just happened to have black skin.
    There are many more, my list would be so so long, Many from the military, maybe because there you are taught to integrate, irrespective of skin color! But great Americans – In this category – are men like Allen West, Juan Williams, Jason Riley, Ben Carson, Bill Cosby, Mia Love, Star Parker, Herman Cain, Jesse Peterson, Walter Williams and I could go on and on. No I don't claim none of these have not used the term African American in conversation, which I consider personally offend by, and very racist in it's self.
    If you want respect YOU must also RESPECT. You earn it. YOU do NOT get to dictate it! You must take responsibility for: Train up a child in the way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.
    Kids must be taught respect, of property, theirs, and of others. Respect must be INSTILLED in your child.
    When I was coming up, and when I raised my kids, and as they have raised their – I have watch this work amazingly well. Spare the rod spoil the child! The child in malleable when young and they must be made strong in Content of Character and wiped into shape when they are very young. That is if you care more about the strength of their character, then whether there action or lack thereof ,is just disturbing for you at the time. Tough Love! As my dad said, I will only tell you once, and then action, no negotiation – and he meant it! Son there is a chain of command in life, in the military, you will obey your commanding officer, in school you will obey your teacher, in home you will obey your parents and you will obey your elders. There was none of this crap, son you don't have to do what they say and I will back you up because I don't want your spirit broken. What a idiot thought. Do I sound intimidated. I got switched and strap many times. My sons and daughter got strapped many times etc. etc. I have three college aged grand children. ALL National Honor Society students! An example, in our station wagon going around the DC beltway, I said, Rick quiet down back there, and I didn't notice an audible change. I simply pull over, put the tail gate down and strap his butt. Guess what the next time I said quiet down – dead silence. No – Now didn't ask you guys to quiet down. Maryland lost and excellent teach! When my daughter was in College, another A student, and had to do some teaching for "practice" and was given all the instruction about you can't do this and that, and the student are empowered by their parent to be un-disciplined little brats – she changed her major to business, She is a young lady to be reckoned with, owns her own Floral business, Can you just imagine how great she might have been if she had not been strapped when a child. She is my sweetheart, and everyone knows it,
    So with that as background:
    As an engineer – I like to examine what I believe to be the root cause for an issue to actually understand how to effect a change going forward. So since everyone has weighed in on Trayvon, I too will do so.
    My feeling is this, again it has to do with, train up a child etc. Respect your elders, Zimmerman had every right to question Trayvon, no matter ANYTHING else, Trayvon had ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT TO hit a person for any part of a conversation no matter what is said!!! I should be able to walk around my neighborhood and decide to encounter anyone I see, black, brown, white whatever, including minors that I don't recognize. Freedom of speech mean I can ask or say whatever is on my mind without fear of physical harm, that includes thinks that someone else may view as racist. Displaying racist feeling via conversation is protected by freedom of speech. The root cause, in my opinion is that it had clearly NOT been INSTILLED in Trayvon to respect his elders! (Not what they say or ask, but the person his/her self.) That is squarely his DAD's fault! and Mr. Martin needs to take responsibility for his clear lack of responsibility. Is there really any doubt that Trayvon would be alive if he had respected his elder, Mr. Zimmerman? It is tragic that he is dead, and any other feeling is just being insensitive to human live. However, Man up Mr. Martin, because I can tell you YOU are advancing racist in America by not doing so. I do believe in the right to have a gun and if the same thing had happen to me, hit in the nose etc. and I freely admit I would have done the same, Take my guns away, and I carry a Knife, same results, Take my knife away and I carry a Fork, Get it – it is not the guns, It is dad's responsibility to INSTILL respect in character of their children. You want respect, you must give respect, it doesn't work, any other way!
    Well that is my personal thoughts on this.
    Mr. Van Jones; I really hope you would support much of this, as an American that believes in integration and equality, this African American "politically correctness stuff is really a big treath to true integration! We need true integration.

    Finally, I am part German, on my mothers side. Do you really think I take any responsibility for the holocaust. I would submit to you, I will not be on a guilt trip because the Spanish, the French, the Italian brought your folks here. It is unfortunate what so many black folks went through. But I am NOT responsible for that, and similarly I don't try to put the Germans on a guilt trip for what they did 100 years ago. I am thankful to be here and the opportunity to make a positive contribution to my country now. YOU African Americans need to integrate similarly. Regardless of what has happen in the interim years, some really horrible things, I am well aware, Really, name one North African county you would rather be a citizen of. Our ancestors have all endured some hell to make the world better for us, and now that is our responsibility! We need an integrated America! Quit trying to define us by our difference but instead build character and integration via our commonalities! Live the Martin Luther King dream!

    October 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Reply
  2. Leslie Hearn

    I am glad Crossfire is back. I always considered it to be an avenue for getting factual information. Aside from the opinons of the commentators. I am looking for the truth regardless of party affilliation and grand standing. Please be voice for ALL showing the good and bad.

    September 23, 2013 at 10:31 am | Reply
  3. Patrick Hurley

    Today, Van Jones asked Rick Santorum what he what say to the mother of one of the children killed by chemical weapons in Syria. What would Van Jones say to the mother of one of the children killed by conventional weapons two years ago? "Sorry, your child was killed by non-chemical weapons, so we don't care." What a hypocrite! Where was Van Jones two years ago?

    September 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Reply

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