Special to WorldTribune.com
The White House used leftist media lapdogs “as public relations tools” to effectively sell the Iran nuclear deal, columnist John Podhoretz wrote in the New York Post on May 5.
Podhoretz pointed to “an astounding New York Times piece by David Samuels,” in which senior White House officials confirmed as much about the spin-centered formulation of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
They “can do it almost at will because these tools are ignorant, will believe what they’re told, will essentially take dictation and are happy to be used just to get the information necessary for a tweet or two,” Podhoretz wrote.
According to Samuels’ piece, the White House “was selling a misleading narrative about the nuclear deal with Iran — the parameters of which were set a year before the administration claimed and which had nothing to do with the fact that a supposedly more accommodating government had risen to power.”
Ben Rhodes, who joined the Obama campaign as a speechwriter in 2007, is the mastermind of the approach, Podhoretz writes “and has risen to become the most influential foreign-policy hand in the White House.
“Rhodes drips with contempt for almost everyone but his boss. He consigns all those who do not share every particular of the Obama-Rhodes foreign-policy perspective to a gelatinous mass called ‘The Blob’ — including, Samuels writes, Hillary Clinton.
“He thinks as little of them as he does of the journalists he and his team must spoon-feed.”
In the New York Times piece, Rhodes said that “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.”
The Iran deal “was wildly unpopular with the American people. To ensure senators didn’t cast a two-thirds vote against it and kill it, the White House set up a digital response ‘war room’ whose purpose was relentlessly to make the case that a vote against the deal was a vote for war,” Podhoretz writes.
“It could only work if water-carriers did the White House’s job for it, and nonprofit water-carriers did their faithful duty.”
Rhodes told the Times that leftist journalists and think-tankers “were discussing the Iran deal based almost entirely on information given to them by the White House. They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
Podhoretz continued: “Little did these denizens of Rhodes’ echo chamber know their loyalty would be seen as servility and would become the subject of post-victory gloating.
“The storyline they peddled was that the Iran deal had been negotiated in a furious round of back-and-forthing in 2014 and 2015, with the United States getting far better terms out of Iran than it expected due to the flexibility of a newly moderate government in Teheran.”
It was, as Samuels wrote in the Times article, “a deliberately misleading narrative. The general terms were actually hammered out in 2012 by State Department officials Jake Sullivan and William Burns, rooted in Obama’s deep desire from the beginning of the administration to strike a grand deal with the mullahs.”
Samuels continued that Rhodes and Obama believe they’re the only sensible thinkers in America and that there’s no way to get the right things done other than to spin them.
“I mean, I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote,” Rhodes told Samuels. “But that’s impossible.”
“Impossible? There was a sober, reasoned public debate over the Iran deal. Its opponents were deadly serious. In the end, 58 senators voted against it on sober, reasoned grounds,” Podhoretz writes.
“What the Samuels piece shows is that the Obama administration chose to attempt to get its way not by winning an argument but by bringing an almost fathomless cynicism to bear in manipulating its own clueless liberal fan club.”