With the recent article by David Samuels in the New York Times Magazine about Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s mind-melding deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, the public has been treated to a rare glimpse behind the curtain of deceit that defines the Obama administration’s deft use of digital propaganda for their political goals.

Mr. Rhodes openly explained how he — and his few minions — manipulated the perceptions of the public via various press corps followers at State, The White House, and Defense. Using what they termed “…these force multipliers … we have our compadres” within the media world to give favorable, and seemingly objective, recaps of the rationales behind President Obama’s nuclear deal with the Iranian regime, known now as the JCPOA. Rhodes termed this tactic the creation of “echo chambers,” repeating their spin to an unsuspecting public through outside media sources.

The ground game for manipulating the public’s perception, and thereby the House and Senate as well, included “… test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, The Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.”

Rhodes, with active involvement of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, headed by Director of Digital Response Tanya Somanader, executed this flawlessly. She explained in the NY Times article: “…The Iran deal is literally going to be the tip of everything we stand up online. And we’re going to map it onto what we know about the different audiences we’re dealing with: the public, pundits, experts, the right wing, Congress.” Ultimately, the goal of this digital campaign was to crush every single comment that opposed the deal, and prevent any questioning of the JCPOA to gain credibility.

Regarding the gullibility of the news media, Rhodes’ comment is almost a cliché, reflecting the Obama White House attitude about, and contempt for, the public in general. “All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus, 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.”

Consider that “average reporter … is 27 years old” comment for a moment. Do the math. On what is their knowledge of international affairs based? At best, one political campaign a few years out of college?

And they are getting a “little color …” background from a “senior White House source” or “un-named White House sources…”?


So without knowing what was really being started here, the American public was manipulated to believe the Iran deal was about a détente of sorts in order to secure the world from nuclearization of the region.

Not so at all. According to Rhodes, this effort was the keystone to their belief system that envisions the dismantling of all the alliances we’ve held for decades throughout the region; Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, among others. Iran was just the center of the “arc.”

Just consider the dramatic increase in unrest in this region since 2012. It is quite a resume, though one that Rhodes always blames on “the project of the American establishment,” not their own incompetent foreign policy taking root. This charade has created predictable chaos.

Iran launches ballistic missiles multiple times after the deal; recently made bellicose warnings that it may fire on U.S. ships transiting the Strait of Hormuz; clearly states it will continue to fund Islamic jihadists, Hezbollah and Hamas; and starts a proxy war in Yemen against the Saudis.

Turkey, though technically a NATO member, is run by an Islamist dictator, Recip Erdogan, unhelpful in stemming the tide of “refugees” seeking to enter Europe through Turkey, and crushes the press and his critics relentlessly. No positive spin there.

Saudi Arabia, seeing the Iranian regime as a real threat and feeling the Obama regime unreliable, has been rumored to have made a deal for a Pakistani nuclear device. Another foreign policy success for Rhodes/Obama.


Egypt and Israel both face continued threats from Islamic jihadists, and appear to get little beyond a shrug from the Obama administration.

In retrospect, look back at the media tempest released upon Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for his speech to Congress (opposing the JCPOA) and one can clearly sense the “ventriloquizing” (as Samuels’ termed it) of Ben Rhodes in all its glory.

How disturbing that the “most transparent administration ever” has aggressively developed multimedia deception to this Orwellian level, and is so proud of its success. It was quite an achievement, and one that you are already seeing again with Castro’s Cuba. Now that they can count on Facebook news feed, Google and a smart phone in every pocket, who needs Big Brother to tell you what to think? You’ve got the White House Office of Digital Strategy, and the almost invisible alter ego of Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes.


Another View, a Maine Press Association award-winning column, is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of Midcoast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest.

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