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The Obama White House counted on the ignorance and stupidity of the media

May 7, 2016

This is how the foreign-policy media is described by the would-be novelist who manages American foreign policy: “They literally know nothing.” You don’t know about this? Maybe it’s for the best if you want to continue to sleep peacefully through the night. Just read the rest below and think how much greater the depth and professionalism of a Trump White House will be. This may be the single most astounding revelation about the abysmal Obama administration to have surfaced, although no doubt more will be revealed as the years go by.

As with almost everything else of significance, if you haven’t been following this story, it’s only because it’s almost impossible to find in your local press. But it does start at The New York Times and is about someone named Ben Rhodes: The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru. So begin with this from the story:

The Boy Wonder of the Obama White House is now 38. . . .

As the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Rhodes writes the president’s speeches, plans his trips abroad and runs communications strategy across the White House, tasks that, taken individually, give little sense of the importance of his role. He is, according to the consensus of the two dozen current and former White House insiders I talked to, the single most influential voice shaping American foreign policy aside from Potus himself.

And this is a bit more on who he is and what he does:

According to Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, who is known for captaining a tight ship, “I see it throughout the day in person,” he says, adding that he is sure that in addition to the two to three hours that Rhodes might spend with Obama daily, the two men communicate remotely throughout the day via email and phone calls. Rhodes strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign, helped negotiate the opening of American relations with Cuba after a hiatus of more than 50 years and has been a co-writer of all of Obama’s major foreign-policy speeches. “Every day he does 12 jobs, and he does them better than the other people who have those jobs,” Terry Szuplat, the longest-tenured member of the National Security Council speechwriting corps, told me. On the largest and smallest questions alike, the voice in which America speaks to the world is that of Ben Rhodes.

And here, just a bit more, to get the full flavour of what we are dealing with, that is, an absolute policy cypher who knows nothing about foreign policy but knows a lot about how to craft a media campaign to make the policy acceptable to the ignorant and gullible:

Like Obama, Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press. His ability to navigate and shape this new environment makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies. His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

So we proceed through the article to find this first mention of his contempt for the media, which also comes with a kind of implied contempt for Obama himself:

When Rhodes joined the Obama campaign in 2007, he arguably knew more about the Iraq war than the candidate himself, or any of his advisers. He had also developed a healthy contempt for the American foreign-policy establishment, including editors and reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, who at first applauded the Iraq war and then sought to pin all the blame on Bush and his merry band of neocons when it quickly turned sour. If anything, that anger has grown fiercer during Rhodes’s time in the White House. He referred to the American foreign-policy establishment as the Blob. According to Rhodes, the Blob includes Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and other Iraq-war promoters from both parties who now whine incessantly about the collapse of the American security order in Europe and the Middle East.

But what has made this profile so infamous is this passage with its direct quotes:

Rhodes singled out a key example to me one day, laced with the brutal contempt that is a hallmark of his private utterances. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” he 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.

We ought to be terrified and sickened but we’re not because we find it so hard to believe that this is the way the US is governed. But it is. Sound policy criticism, no doubt on every aspect of the Obama administrations, is messaged to death which happens because the media is ignorant and incompetent. Once you know that, and combine it with Obama’s far-far-to-the-left beliefs, much of what you see around you falls into place.

You should, by the way, read the whole article linked to above. This is the world of virtual reality we are all living in.

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