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When White House national security adviser Ben Rhodes gave that now-infamous interview to The New York Times Magazine bragging about the “echo chamber” he created to push the Iran nuclear deal, he showed a stunning lack of foresight. If he’s so knowledgeable about echo chambers, he should have known that he himself would be creating a brand new one with that article — and not the kind he or anyone else in the White House wants.
We learned from that interview that Ben Rhodes is less a national security adviser than a proud creative writer, busily spinning narratives on issues such as Benghazi and the Iran nuclear deal that rely on total fiction. His whole mind is an echo chamber! One might even say that his full title, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, begs an analysis of the word “strategic.” When the White House claims the public wasn’t misled on Iran, the accuracy of that statement depends on what the meaning of “strategic” is. Clearly, the public was misled. But Rhodes takes pride in manipulating young, inexperienced reporters who find themselves in the exhilarating position of covering the White House beat. Ironically, Rhodes himself represents the kind of “journalist” he slams in the piece — someone who’s never actually investigated the facts but who simply offers the administration a blank page to write upon.
When the House Oversight Committee called a hearing Tuesday on the Iran deal and committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked Rhodes to come in and testify, he responded like the spectacular egotist he is — as a no-show, the equivalent of a big “up yours” to the panel. The White House is calling this a “separation of powers issue.” What, Rhodes can talk to The New York Times, but he can’t talk to Congress?
Oddly enough, the minority chair, Elijah Cummings (D-MD) accused Republicans of creating their own echo chamber, repeating the same talking points over and over. Oh, really? If that’s what they’re doing, then why wouldn’t Ben Rhodes want to come in, interrupt their echo and set the record straight? Here’s the answer, simple enough for the youngest and most inexperienced Washington reporter to understand: It’s because there really is nothing he can say that doesn’t reinforce the picture he created of a White House making up things out of whole cloth.
Some Republican lawmakers have already released a letter calling for Ben Rhodes to be fired “before he further tarnishes the office of the President.” It’s hard to imagine how that office could become more tarnished than it already is, but still: way to go, GOP.