Obama aid comes clean to the NY Times: The White House manipulates media, planting stories that ‘clueless’ reports pick up

ben rhosde

Ben Rhodes grew up wanting to be a fiction writer and was on track to earn a MFA from NYU when the twin towers exploded in an avalanche of nanothermite toxic dust. In that moment, he decided he’d concentrate on international affairs. His mother’s friend had connections with the journal Foreign Policy, so he got an introduction. Today, Ben Rhodes is Obama’s deputy national security advisor for strategic communications. It’s been quite the journey, but he’s still writing fiction. The New York Times reports:

“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…

“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…”

Rhodes worked his way up as the chief note taker and writer for the Iraq Study Group

Rhodes sent his resume to Foreign Policy attached with a piece of fiction from his MFA days. This landed in the lap of former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton, who was impressed with Rhodes writing prowess and hired him to work for the Wilson Center, a non partisan think tank. Rhodes ability as a note taker was key, as reported in The New York Times:

“Hamilton says, [Rhodes] had a keen understanding of what was going on and a talent for putting the positions of distinguished participants down on paper. ‘I immediately understood that it’s a very important quality for a staffer,’ Hamilton explained, ‘that he could come into a meeting and decide what was decided.'”

After the Iraq Study Group, Ben Rhodes was hired by the Obama campaign in 2007 where he became known as “strategic” and “defiant” in knowing what then Senator Barack Obama would say, or not say, or would like or not like. When he came to the White House, he realized that it would be his job to help the new President of the United States communicate with the public, media and all points in between. Deciding what was decided, even if it’s massaged with fiction, became even more strategic.

Rhodes admits to a mind meld with Obama. He doesn’t know where he begins or Obama ends

From The New York Times: