The way the Iran nuclear deal was sold to the American public was “largely manufactured” and “often misleading or false,” according to the New York Times' interpretation of an interview with Ben Rhodes, a national security adviser to President Barack Obama.
Rhodes spoke with a surprising level of hubris as he explained how the Obama administration was able to sell the Iran deal, at least according to the account of the Times’ Doug Mills (emphasis added):
Rhodes’s innovative campaign to sell the Iran deal is likely to be a model for how future administrations explain foreign policy to Congress and the public. 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. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false. Obama’s closest advisers always understood him to be eager to do a deal with Iran as far back as 2012, and even since the beginning of his presidency.
Mills wrote that Rhodes, who dreamed of being a novelist, began to craft the “story” behind the Iran deal all the way back in 2013, which involved “moderates” in Iran beating Iranian “hard-liners” in an election and were open to nuclear negotiations.
More from the New York Times profile:
The president set out the timeline himself in his speech announcing the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also 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. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration.
The lengthy profile also includes comments from Rhodes’s assistant, Ned Price, in which he explains how the Obama administration essentially manipulates the press.
In addition to daily White House briefings, Price said they have “force multipliers” or “compadres” in the media who regularly help with the administration’s messaging.
As Mediaite's Alex Griswold noted, the revelations easily could have been a front page headline, but were instead buried deep inside a lengthy profile that appeared on page 44 of the publication's Sunday magazine.
Read the full story here.