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Former White House green jobs czar Van Jones — best known, perhaps, for his messy departure from the Obama administration — urged a room full of student progressive activists on Wednesday to turn off “the little idiot box” [cable news] that was trying to “depress them” and to ignore the “fearmongers” who peddle the “politics of division.”

Appearing before the Campus Progress National Conference, Jones primarily pushed what has been the cause of his career: clean energy legislation and green jobs. But his take on the state of political discourse — colored, undoubtedly, by the treatment he received from conservative pundits — stood out.

Reflecting on the accusations that he was a communist sympathizer and 9/11 conspiracy theorist (he resigned from the administration after it was revealed that he once signed a petition questioning the root causes of the terror attack), Jones said he got through those final White House days by popping in videos of Nelson Mendela.

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