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White House Brags About Manipulating Media on Iran

Jack Hays

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Here's a senior White House staffer bragging about how reporters were easy to mislead and manipulate. Not saying I'm shocked it was done -- media has been BHO's lap dog all along -- but I'm quite surprised a practitioner would brag in public while still in office.




Magazine profile of White House staffer reveals absurdity, hypocrisy and chumminess
We are told not once but twice that deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is something like Holden Caulfield from “Catcher in the Rye.”


I just don’t know anymore where David Samuels begins and Ben Rhodes ends.
Samuels’s massive New York Times magazine profile of Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, is already prompting debates over the administration’s truthfulness in promoting the Iran nuclear deal, as well as over the disdain with which Rhodes regards the Washington press corps, the U.S. foreign policy establishment — basically anyone who is not himself, President Obama, or fellow West Wing narrative pushers.
So the piece, posted Thursday and titled “The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru,” is, in straightforward terms, a real talker, a success. Even if it is, as a piece of nonfiction writing, kind of gross.
The grossness emerges on several levels and on multiple occasions.
It is the knowing chumminess of a journalist finishing sentences for a White House official who is mocking other prominent Washington journalists for getting so easily spun – and then quoting himself as he finishes the sentence, even letting us know that he did so with a chuckle. (It takes a special kind of journalist to quote his own chuckle.) It is the blindness of a writer who declares that Rhodes is “not an egotist” while offering countless examples of that subject’s gargantuan self-regard, and not bothering to note the contradiction. It is letting a speechwriter colleague praise Rhodes for giving “zero [expletive] about what most people in Washington think,” when the entire exercise in which the writer, subject and source are engaged – a lengthy and access-heavy profile portraying Rhodes as the “Boy Wonder” of the Obama White House and revealing Rhodes’s contempt for the Washington foreign-policy establishment – proclaims precisely the contrary. . . . .
 

Hawkeye10

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What they were bragging about is not just this instance of railroading the "journalists", because they from the beginning told the "journalists" to stuff it, and got away with it.

I promise you these same people who brag about how useless the Washington press is will in the very next breath complain that the American People Suck!......because we increasingly dont respect nor listen to that same press. They will then go on to whine that Trump and his Army intend to burn the place to the ground and rebuild, because Washington is useless.

If you want quality then you need to work towards quality.

Obama has never given two figs about quality government.
 

Thoreau72

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The media has been manipulated by the CIA and the government for decades at least.

The Obama Administration's style in that regard is a little more arrogant than his predecessors.
 

Grant

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The media has been manipulated by the CIA and the government for decades at least.

The Obama Administration's style in that regard is a little more arrogant than his predecessors.
The media don't need the CIA to manipulate them. They have become part of the process, part of the entire political, business, and media conglomerate. Unless you carry water for the ruling classes your career will be stuck in neutral, no interviews, serious contacts, or inside information. Fox News is one of the few exceptions who can get away with not having to interview top level Democrats in order to maintain high ratings.
 

Jack Hays

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[h=3]The White House is trying to put out an enormous fire surrounding one of its top aides[/h] The White House is scrambling to clean up the political mess created by a New York Times Magazine profile of President Barack Obama's deputy national-security adviser, Ben Rhodes, who offered surprisingly blunt comments about the Iran nuclear deal and other contentious topics. In the interview, Rhodes was candid about how the administration has sought to shape its foreign policy, and went into some detail about how "Beltway insider" experts and reporters helped the White House sell the Iran nuclear deal to the general public. Rhodes' comments also angered Washington reporters, whom he characterized as "27-year-olds" who "literally know nothing" or as "handpicked Beltway insiders" who report on the White House uncritically. . . .
 

Grant

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[h=3]The White House is trying to put out an enormous fire surrounding one of its top aides[/h] The White House is scrambling to clean up the political mess created by a New York Times Magazine profile of President Barack Obama's deputy national-security adviser, Ben Rhodes, who offered surprisingly blunt comments about the Iran nuclear deal and other contentious topics. In the interview, Rhodes was candid about how the administration has sought to shape its foreign policy, and went into some detail about how "Beltway insider" experts and reporters helped the White House sell the Iran nuclear deal to the general public. Rhodes' comments also angered Washington reporters, whom he characterized as "27-year-olds" who "literally know nothing" or as "handpicked Beltway insiders" who report on the White House uncritically. . . .
This is very reminiscent of the now forgotten Jonathan Gruber, who couldn't resisted telling everyone how clever he was in manipulating and lying to a compliant media. Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber tells the truth, then tries to deny it – Rare
 

Jack Hays

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polgara

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[h=3]The White House is trying to put out an enormous fire surrounding one of its top aides[/h] The White House is scrambling to clean up the political mess created by a New York Times Magazine profile of President Barack Obama's deputy national-security adviser, Ben Rhodes, who offered surprisingly blunt comments about the Iran nuclear deal and other contentious topics. In the interview, Rhodes was candid about how the administration has sought to shape its foreign policy, and went into some detail about how "Beltway insider" experts and reporters helped the White House sell the Iran nuclear deal to the general public. Rhodes' comments also angered Washington reporters, whom he characterized as "27-year-olds" who "literally know nothing" or as "handpicked Beltway insiders" who report on the White House uncritically. . . .

Greetings, Jack. :2wave:

I doubt that few will be much surprised by Rhodes' comments. The only surprise might be that he actually said them now, which only confirmed what many countries around the world already believed - that the Iran agreement was not a good one, being totally in Iran's favor, who has already broken parts of the agreement, proving their word cannot be trusted, even though sanctions were lifted. I don't know what the WH can do at this point, but I guess we will soon learn ... :shock:
 
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bubbabgone

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Greetings, Jack. :2wave:

I doubt that few will be much surprised by Rhodes comments. The only surprise might be that he actually said them now, which only confirmed what many countries around the world already believed - that the Iran agreement was totally one-sided in favor of Iran, who has already broken parts of the agreement, proving their word cannot be trusted, even though sanctions were lifted. I don't know what the WH can do at this point, but I guess we will soon learn ... :shock:

Tip of the iceberg.
I'd wager you could pick any number of issues and you'll find the media merely repeats what the Administration tells them ... sometimes because they don't know any better, sometimes despite it.
 

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Greetings, Jack. :2wave:

I doubt that few will be much surprised by Rhodes' comments. The only surprise might be that he actually said them now, which only confirmed what many countries around the world already believed - that the Iran agreement was not a good one, being totally in Iran's favor, who has already broken parts of the agreement, proving their word cannot be trusted, even though sanctions were lifted. I don't know what the WH can do at this point, but I guess we will soon learn ... :shock:

Gruber, Rhodes, you don't change a winning strategy.
 

Jack Hays

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Greetings, Jack. :2wave:

I doubt that few will be much surprised by Rhodes' comments. The only surprise might be that he actually said them now, which only confirmed what many countries around the world already believed - that the Iran agreement was not a good one, being totally in Iran's favor, who has already broken parts of the agreement, proving their word cannot be trusted, even though sanctions were lifted. I don't know what the WH can do at this point, but I guess we will soon learn ... :shock:

Greetings, Polgara.:2wave:

Well said.:mrgreen:
 

polgara

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Ben Rhodes, the Gruber of foreign policy.

Just lovely.

Greetings, Erik. :2wave:

Did Congress ever approve the Iran Agreement? I honestly don't recall if that was a requirement in the first place....
 

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Objective Voice

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The following is the portion of the Times Magazine article that seems to be the focus of attention and subsequent scrutiny:

Rhodes’s innovative campaign to sell the Iran deal is likely to be a model for how future administrations explain foreign policy to Congress and the public. The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false. Obama’s closest advisers always understood him to be eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency. “It’s the center of the arc,” Rhodes explained to me two days after the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was implemented. He then checked off the ways in which the administration’s foreign-policy aims and priorities converged on Iran. “We don’t have to kind of be in cycles of conflict if we can find other ways to resolve these issues,” he said. “We can do things that challenge the conventional thinking that, you know, ‘AIPAC doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the Israeli government doesn’t like this,’ or ‘the gulf countries don’t like it.’ It’s the possibility of improved relations with adversaries. It’s nonproliferation. So all these threads that the president’s been spinning — and I mean that not in the press sense — for almost a decade, they kind of all converged around Iran.”

In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program. The president set out the timeline himself in his speech announcing the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the “moderate” camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration. By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making. By eliminating the fuss about Iran’s nuclear program, the administration hoped to eliminate a source of structural tension between the two countries, which would create the space for America to disentangle itself from its established system of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey. With one bold move, the administration would effectively begin the process of a large-scale disengagement from the Middle East.

So, it's not that the deal was bad in and of itself or that the Obama Administration didn't have a willing partner in Iran. It's the fact that the Administration used the upcoming Iranian election as soft-cover to sell the nuclear reduction deal to the American people. Frankly, it makes sense considering that both Congress and the American people were so much against negotiating with anyone within the Iranian leadership who were hardliners against the U.S. Now, it is true that moderate Iranians in government and among the nation's citizens did want a deal to pass in order for the sanctions to be lifted and international commerce could return to Iran. The Obama Administration merely decided to peg the deal with a more moderate Iran tagline orchestrated by Rhodes. Frankly, I can't say I blame him.
 

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The following is the portion of the Times Magazine article that seems to be the focus of attention and subsequent scrutiny:



So, it's not that the deal was bad in and of itself or that the Obama Administration didn't have a willing partner in Iran. It's the fact that the Administration used the upcoming Iranian election as soft-cover to sell the nuclear reduction deal to the American people. Frankly, it makes sense considering that both Congress and the American people were so much against negotiating with anyone within the Iranian leadership who were hardliners against the U.S. Now, it is true that moderate Iranians in government and among the nation's citizens did want a deal to pass in order for the sanctions to be lifted and international commerce could return to Iran. The Obama Administration merely decided to peg the deal with a more moderate Iran tagline orchestrated by Rhodes. Frankly, I can't say I blame him.


Sort of like Saddam has weapons of mass destruction so let's go to war. Except here we are agreeing to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons on 10-15 years.
 

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As to the overall point - that the WH (whomever is in office) manipulates the media - what else is new? Think back to one of the biggest lies ever told before the UN Security Counsel in foreign policy history - that Iraq had WMD of such leathology and was attempting to sell same to terrorist - and most of the world bought hook line and sinker. When you put things in perspective, I'd much rather the latter lie be told than the former.
 

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Greetings, Erik. :2wave:

Did Congress ever approve the Iran Agreement? I honestly don't recall if that was a requirement in the first place....

Iran never approved it. Congress was never given the option. Obama claimed it wasn't a treaty. The weak Congress never called him on it.

Vote Trump and whoever is running against the establishment.
 

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Sort of like Saddam has weapons of mass destruction so let's go to war. Except here we are agreeing to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons on 10-15 years.

Well, if you can delay their action for a decade or so while also letting the cat out of the bag about Iran's aspirations to build a nuclear bomb AND in so doing allow the rest of the ME power players to "prepare" themselves defensively against it, I'm all for it. The best way to keep a rouge nation in check is to ensure that a neighboring rouge nation is watching your every move.

Shia Iran...meet Sunni Saudi Arabia.
 

Jack Hays

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Well, if you can delay their action for a decade or so while also letting the cat out of the bag about Iran's aspirations to build a nuclear bomb AND in so doing allow the rest of the ME power players to "prepare" themselves defensively against it, I'm all for it. The best way to keep a rouge nation in check is to ensure that a neighboring rouge nation is watching your every move.

Shia Iran...meet Sunni Saudi Arabia.

The response will be that others will want nukes too. Yippee.
 

eohrnberger

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Well, if you can delay their action for a decade or so while also letting the cat out of the bag about Iran's aspirations to build a nuclear bomb AND in so doing allow the rest of the ME power players to "prepare" themselves defensively against it, I'm all for it. The best way to keep a rouge nation in check is to ensure that a neighboring rouge nation is watching your every move.

Shia Iran...meet Sunni Saudi Arabia.

The response will be that others will want nukes too. Yippee.

And one day a hot head presses his button, or gets a hold of someone else's button and presses it, and we can all watch the Middle East go up in a nuclear mushroom cloud.

How's this any sort of real progress in a positive direction? I seem to recall this as 'The End of Days' in some book someplace.
 

Jack Hays

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And one day a hot head presses his button, or gets a hold of someone else's button and presses it, and we can all watch the Middle East go up in a nuclear mushroom cloud.

How's this any sort of real progress in a positive direction? I seem to recall this as 'The End of Days' in some book someplace.

It's the opposite of progress.
 
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