A story in the New Yorker from two days ago recently caught my eye.
What really caught my attention was the sub-title:
“The 2017 document, titled “The Echo Chamber,” accused former Obama officials of undermining the incoming Administration.”
From the article:
In early 2017, some of Donald Trump’s advisers concluded that they faced a sophisticated threat responsible for “coordinated attacks” on the new Administration. They circulated a memo, titled “The Echo Chamber…[which] claimed that the “communications infrastructure” that the Obama White House used to “sell Obamacare and the Iran Deal to the public” had been moved to the private sector, now that the former aides were out of government.
It called the network the Echo Chamber and accused its members of mounting a coordinated effort “to undermine President Trump’s foreign policy” through organized attacks in the press against Trump and his advisers…The memo lists Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national-security adviser to President Obama, as “likely the brain behind this operation” and Colin Kahl, Vice-President Joe Biden’s former national-security adviser, as its “likely ops chief.”
Other Obama Administration members, including Jake Sullivan, Tommy Vietor, Ned Price, Jon Favreau, Jon Finer, and Dan Pfeiffer, are all listed as “likely operations officers.”
Several reporters were mentioned as being part of the Echo Chamber. They included “The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the New York Times’ Max Fisher, and NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell.” Six more reporters were referenced but not named.
The purpose of the article was not to promote these details, but rather to debunk them:
The memo, circulated at senior levels in the White House, shows just how deeply the Echo Chamber conspiracy theory had penetrated business and politics.
For those who’ve spent any amount of time following events, use of an orchestrated Echo Chamber is real and effective.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see what Ben Rhodes & other Obama Administration members said about Echo Chambers and coordinated efforts w/the media.
David Samuels obtained unprecedented access to Ben Rhodes, Jon Favreau and others. The result was enlightening. From Samuel’s article:
When I asked Jon Favreau, Obama’s lead speechwriter in the 2008 campaign, and a close friend of Rhodes’s, whether he or Rhodes or the president had ever thought of their individual speeches and bits of policy making as part of some larger restructuring of the American narrative, he replied:
“We saw that as our entire job.”
Favreau would later weigh in on Rhodes’ credentials:
“The idea of someone with a masters in fiction who had also co-authored the Iraq Study Group and 9/11 Commission reports seemed perfect for a candidate who put so much emphasis on storytelling.”
Rhodes described the environment in which they were operating:
“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.”
This environment allowed for substantial narrative-shaping. Tanya Somanader, the White House director of digital response became known on Twitter as @TheIranDeal.
By applying 21st-century data and networking tools to the white-glove world of foreign affairs, the White House was able to track what United States senators and the people who worked for them, and influenced them, were seeing online — and make sure that no potential negative comment passed without a tweet.
Somanader noted how the use of “handpicked Beltway insiders like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Laura Rozen of Al-Monitor helped retail the administration’s narrative.”
“Laura Rozen was my RSS feed, she would just find everything and retweet it.”
Rhodes’ assistant, Ned Price described how the process worked:
“The easiest way for the White House to shape the news is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps.”
“But then there are sort of these force multipliers. We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — ”
Samuels helped to refresh Price’s memory:
“I can name them,” I said, ticking off a few names of prominent Washington reporters and columnists who often tweet in sync with White House messaging.
More description of the process from Price:
“I’ll give them some color and the next thing I know, lots of these guys are in the dot-com publishing space, and have huge Twitter followings, and they’ll be putting this message out on their own.”
And Rhodes described the final result when confronted by Samuels over the “onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal”:
“We created an echo chamber. They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”
“We had 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.”
Samuels offered his take on Rhodes’ efforts at media manipulation:
Rhodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. 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.
He described the truth behind the media manipulation:
In the narrative that Rhodes shaped, the “story” of the Iran deal began in 2013, when a “moderate” faction inside the Iranian regime led by Hassan Rouhani beat regime “hard-liners” in an election and then began to pursue a policy of “openness,” which included a newfound willingness to negotiate the dismantling of its illicit nuclear-weapons program.
[This] was actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid-2012, many months before Rouhani and the “moderate” camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
And provided his conclusion on Rhodes’ efforts:
The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal.
And so, the Iran Nuclear Deal came into being. It has been called the worst agreement in diplomatic history.
The New York Times proved this description: “Mr. Kerry described an Iranian capability that had been neutralized; the Iranians described a nuclear capability that had been preserved.”
I referred to it as A Nuclear Capability Preserved. A Missile Program Advanced.
The authors of the August 23, 2018, New Yorker article are Adam Entous & Ronan Farrow.
Yes, there is a rather weak reference to Weinstein in the article.
Entous, who writes for the Washington Post, has helped report some major stories used to push the Trump-Russia Narrative. Which did real damage to real people.
Entous also helped write this article – which came directly from leaks by James Wolfe:
Wolfe, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Director of Security, was arrested on June 6, 2018 for lying to the FBI. Wolfe had been leaking documents to reporters. Not only did the documents almost certainly come from Wolfe, it’s probable the WAPO reporters received an unredacted version of the Carter Page FISA (see here).
Which means the media has been in possession of an unredacted version of the Page FISA for over a full year – and lying about the true nature of its contents the entire time.
Almost like they were part of…an Echo Chamber.
The Obama Echo Chamber is indeed alive and well today. When President Trump rescinded the Iran Nuclear Deal, the usual suspects sprung into action. Note the time stamps. The New York Times had reported the cancelling of the deal about a half hour earlier – just long enough for talking points to be aligned:
I will never forget the dark cloud that hung over the White House in the years Iran was advancing nuclear program & Obama was briefed on all the risks of using military force. (1/2) https://t.co/bngRZKhmeZ
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) May 8, 2018
The President’s “accomplishment” today is making it easier for Iran to re-start its nuclear weapons program.
For this, he’ll get a big cheer from the same crowd who got us into Iraq.
Vote them out. Vote them all out.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 8, 2018
It took five years of diplomacy to build the sanctions regime and two years of diplomacy to reach a Deal. Trump is blowing that up with no understanding of what’s actually in the Deal, no plan for what comes next, and no support from our closest European allies, Russia or China. https://t.co/59c3uQtKI5
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) May 8, 2018
Echo Chamber. Otherwise known as Obama’s Foreign Policy.
older post The Missing Papadopoulos Meetings