Conveniently Murky Explanation of Truther Petition Signed By Van Jones

Why didn't the Times' front-page story by John Broder clearly state that Obama adviser Van Jones suggests President Bush knowingly allowed 9-11 to happen?

Obama environmental adviser and "green jobs" czar Van Jones resigned Saturday night, the culmination of days of controversy (ignored by the Times and the rest of the mainstream media) after evidence surfaced of his radical Communist background and the fact he signed a petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen."

Reporter Sarah Wheaton's Sunday story, the first mention of the Jones case by the Times in print, was spotty but at least clearly stated that Jones signed a letter "suggesting that former President George W. Bush might have knowingly allowed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to occur in order to use them as a 'pre-text to war.'"

But John Broder's Monday front-page follow-up story on the Van Jones resignation, under the mild headline "White House Official Resigns After G.O.P. Criticism," muddied the facts of the case against Jones, as Mickey Kaus noted in a post titled "Van Jones: Does the NYT Know What a Truther Is?"

Broder's Monday story began:


White House officials on Sunday tersely accepted the resignation of the administration's special adviser for environmental jobs after a number of his past statements became fodder for conservative critics and Republican officials.

The adviser, Van Jones, a controversial and charismatic community organizer and "green jobs" advocate from the San Francisco Bay Area, signed a petition in 2004 questioning whether the Bush administration had allowed the terrorist attacks of September 2001 to provide a pretext for war in the Middle East.

One could read that sentence two ways. "Allowed" could refer to "the terrorist attacks," which would be an accurate summation of the petition signed by Jones, but the more natural reading of the sentence (especially if you've been following the issue in the Times and thus know nothing of the matter) could lead to the belief that the petition was merely criticizing Bush for allowing the 9-11 attacks be used as an excuse to go to war. The sentence should have been much more explicit in stating that Jones signed a position questioning whether Bush deliberately let 9-11 happen.