White House on Rhodes Fallout: We Never Lied About The Iran Deal

Katie Pavlich
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Posted: May 09, 2016 3:30 PM
White House on Rhodes Fallout: We Never Lied About The Iran Deal

In case you missed it last week, White House National Security advisor Ben Rhodes admitted the Obama administration took advantage of an ignorant, inexperienced media in order to sell the Iran nuclear deal to the American people during a profile piece interview in the New York Times. The piece is titled, "The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru."

"All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes said. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. 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.” 

In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

In addition, as David Reaboi points out over at The Federalist, Rhodes arrogantly admitted in the profile that the administration lied to the American people and they did it through the media by creating an "echo chamber" filled with false talking points. 

There are few things in the world less popular in the United States than the Islamic Republic of Iran. As the then-new, optimistic promise of the Obama presidency beckoned in 2008, Gallup found that overall opinion of Iran in this country was 8 percent favorable and a dramatic 88 percent unfavorable. These numbers have been remarkably consistent over time; there’s no better evidence that, in the eyes of the American people, Iran is our enemy.

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.

Did the media have the responsibility to better vet the Iran nuclear deal? Of course. Should Americans reevaluate the value they put on news reporting surroudning important, international issues instead of focusing on viral content and getting news for free? Absolutely. That being said, the White House ultimately had an obligation not to lie to the media and in return to the American people, about the deal which has left the world a more vulnerable and dangerous place. 

Monday during the White House daily briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest maintained the White House has never lied about the Iranian nuclear deal and argued the deal has made Israel and the United States safer.

"Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?" Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke asked Earnest.

"Yeah," Earnest responded. "Kevin, I think the facts of this agreement and the benefits of this agreement make clear that the national security of the United States of America has been enhanced."

It should be noted that President Obama relied heavily on Rhodes as an advisor during the Iran deal negotiations, during which Obama wrote two letters to the Iranian president directly. Leon Panetta, former head of the CIA, was unaware of the letters when they were sent.

I'll leave you with this: