The selling of the Iran deal

The selling of the Iran deal–16h.,b62

The interview was something of a get—the profile by veteran journalist David Samuels  which would be published in the May 8 New York Times Magazine accurately describes Rhodes as “the Boy Wonder of the Obama White House. Samuels notes that nearly everyone I spoke to about Rhodes used the phrase ‘mind meld'” to describe his relationship with President Obama.

ln his own words—and presumably his statements reflect the president he has a mind meld with—Rhodes and other White House officials brag about manipulating the media. They credit themselves with creating a foreign policy narrative divorced from reality to push through the Iranian nuclear deal. This revelation, coupled with increasingly widespread recognition that the Obama administration lied about key details of the Iran deal, has understandably caused an uproar.

“We created an echo chamber,” [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslangaht of freshly minted experts cheerleaders for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given to say. Rhodes boasted to Samuels that  reporters were easy to manipulate. thanks to the elimination of veteran correspondents and foreign news bureaus: “Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”

The easiest way for the white house to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of  which has its own dedicated press corps. “But then there are sort of these force multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them—” “I can name them,” [Samuels] said, ticking off a few names of prominent Washington reporters and columnists who often tweet in sync with White House messaging. Price laughed.

They elect  who they’re going to believe.” For those  in need of more  traditional-seeming forms of validation, handpicked Beltway insiders like Jeffrey Goldbert of the Atlantic and Laura Rozen of Al-Monitor helped retail the  administrations narrative. “Laura Rozen was my RSS feed,” Somanader offered. “She would just find everything and retweet it.”

It would be hard to overstate how little reason the media had to trust the Obama administration on Iran. Initially, officials lied about even the existence of bilateral talks with Iran. The official narrative was that negotiations were keyed to the election of the “moderate” president of Iran Hassan Rouhani in 2013 State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki  would later confirm reporting that talks with Iran actually began in 2011.

As for why journalists would carry so much water for the Obama administration, the simple answer is that they shared the administration’s passion for a deal with Iran. Rozen’s slavish devotion to Obama’s Iran policy, for one has been something to behold.

Late last summer, the Associated Press broke the news the Obama  let Iran make a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency to “self-inspect” its own Parchin nuclear site. The terms of this side-deal with Iran were never disclosed to Congress as required by the Corker-Cardin law that assented  to the deal. In a Daily Beast column that now looks incredibly prescient. Naval War College professor Tom  Nichols noted that the political and media response to the AP’s revelations looked very coordinated and oddly lacking in substance.      And perhaps the most spurious such question was Rozen’s baselessly wondering if the documents obtained by the AP were Israeli forgeries.

Qassem Soleimani, responsible for killing American soldiers in Iraq, began violating sanctions against Iran by visiting Europe, Rozen asserted his travels were lawful. In January when Iran boarded an American vessel in the Persian Gulf, she responded  to a photo of the Americans being held captive by tweeting, “looks like they are making friends.

The  fact that the leaked news of in ft American sailors being taken captive Rhodes was trying to keep it a secret–would overshadow Obamas  State of the State of the Union address later that same day. When the controversy over the Rhodes profile launched a slew of criticisms directed at her, one of Rozen’s notable supporters tweeted, “Laura Rozen has been the best & most informative feed on #IranTalks.

What’s notable about Goldberg is his incredible access to the White House, including multiple interviews with the president.

Goldberg last profiled Obama in the April edition of the Atlantic, and  the interview caused quite a stir because Obama openly insulted American allies.

Rockefeller family pave millions to liberal and pro-Iranian groups advocating a deal with Iran. And the Wall Street Journal further reported that the  White House, and Ben Rhodes specifically, was helping direct the efforts of those groups to pressure Congress on  the Iran deal.

Much of the pro-deal money was distributed via an antinuke foundation called the Plough  shares Fund Ploughshares has been | law giving money to an antiproliferation group called the Institute for Science and international security. aka “the good ISIS.” ISIS stopped getting money a few years back and its president David Albright has-so far declined to say it was because the organization wouldn’t support Obama’s Iran deal.

The terrifying reality of  a nuclear Iran note withstanding, what may be most troubling about this episode is how this manipulation of the press has become the new political playbook and how willing the pawns are to be manipulated. In 2014, Rhodes sold a band of liberal interest groups on the Iran deal, calling it “the biggest thing President Obama will do in his second term on foreign policy. This is healthcare for us, just to put it in context.” It’s an apt comparison because the selling of Obamacare perfectly tracks the dishonest machinations of the Iran deal. I

First, tell a bunch of brazen lies designed to soften political resistance, e.g., “Obamacare will be deficit neutral” and “if you like your health insurance you can keep it.” Second, get a bunch of court Stenographers to be “force multipliers” in the press— Ezra Klein, then at the Washington post  and the new republic Jonathan Cohn were relentlessly on message, as were hundreds of other reporters on the “JournoList” email list Klein maintained. So enlisted were mediasavvy wonks such as MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who later admitted to being deceptive about aspects of the law to sell it, along with deep-pocketed liberal foundations.

Third, when reality catches up with the narrative—Obamacare is going to cost trillions, and millions are losing their health insurance—call on the same echo chamber that lied in the first place to gaslight the critics. have them alternately insist everyone this was going to happen or that it’s a small price to pay for being on the right side of history, and, finally. have your fellow-travelers bask in achieving your political objective even though the trail of self-serving lies left behind seriously erodes the public ^ trust necessary to govern in the future.

“A Stunning profile of Ben Rhodes, the a—hole who is the president’s foreign policy guru.” The substance of the article wasn’t much more restrained. Ricks compares Rhodes to “the Kennedy smart  guys who helped get us into the Vietnam War. Does he know how awful he sounds?”

‘It’s jarring when you consider that Obama’s two signature accomplishments, Obamacare and the Iran war deal, were both achieved by systematically and deliberately lying. Rhodes is leaving the White House in a few months and likely knew exactly what he sounds like—a man who deserves credit for executing a winning strategy.

Rosen reported that the State Department had surreptitiously edited the official recording of a December 2013 press conference. An exchange where State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted to Rosen the administration had been lying about when the Iran talks began had been excised from the full recording on excised from the full recording on YouTube channel.

source–weekly std-5/23/16, thomas ricks, mzrk hemingway, nyt magazine, ned price, tanya somander, jeffrey goldberg, laura rozen, jen psaki, corker-cardin law, quassem soleimani, abbas aslani, tablet magazine, arms control assoc., ezraklein, new republics,

 

 

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