President Obama—with the help of an equally arrogant 38-year-old national security fabulist, Ben Rhodes—remade the Middle East to empower America’s most hated enemy.
How would the American people react to knowing that an administration, then still stinging from Republican critiques of its anti-Americanism and weakness on the world stage, was holding secret negotiations in Oman with the most powerful still-standing member of George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil”?
Under these conditions, Obama—with the help of an equally arrogant 38-year-old national security fabulist, Ben Rhodes (with whom he’s said to “mind-meld”)—succeeded in remaking the Middle East to empower America’s most hated enemy, the only United Nations member state committed to the annihilation of another state: the theocratic Islamic Republic of Iran.
Rhodes and Obama knew that, for anyone but the hard-left to accept a deal with America’s bitter enemy in Tehran, a new narrative needed to emerge, even if it was relatively transparent nonsense. As Rhodes explained to his bemused interviewer, David Samuels, in a New York Times Magazine profile this weekend, it was first necessary to lie to a corrupted and inexperienced American media about all sorts of things, beginning with the nature and intentions of the enemy Iranian regime. Subsequent lies were caked on, as the White House took advantage of a dangerous mix of journalists’ ignorance, their ideological and partisan commitment to the administration, and, finally, their career aspirations.
Rhodes said, “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns… They literally know nothing.” Thus they will believe what he tells them. He also tells friendly non-governmental organizations and think tanks what he is telling the journalists. Those outlets produce “experts” whose expert opinion is just what Rhodes wants it to be. These ignorant young journalists thus have quotes that look like independent confirmation of the White House’s lies. Here’s how Samuels describes the scene:
First, the lies and the denials about the negotiations. It took months before a few dogged journalists started to ask questions about the talks Obama officials were engaged in with Ahmadinejad’s regime. In February 2013, then-State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland flatly denied “direct, secret bilateral talks with Iran.” Republicans on Capitol Hill were nervous about the rumors, but the media was willing to accept the State Department’s denial. The secret negotiations with Iran also alarmed America’s allies in Jerusalem, who had also been kept in the dark about their closest ally’s clandestine meetings with their most potent adversary.
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