How Obama manipulates the media

What distinguishes the Obama administration’s propaganda machine from previous efforts is its cold, casual style. At least the Truman, Johnson and Bush initiatives operated at a visible level where you could argue with the views presented. But as presented by Samuels, Rhodes is the policy whisperer, a very successful policy whisperer, who helps form public opinion without the leaving a sign of having spoken. Samuels writes, “[O]nce you are attuned to the distinctive qualities of Rhodes’s voice—which is often laced with aggressive contempt for anyone or anything that stands in the president’s way—you can hear him everywhere.”

Ned Price, a Rhodes assistant, evinces the arrogance of this White House’s media manipulations: Reporters he considers to be White House “compadres” function as “force multipliers” when it comes time to disseminate news. “And I’ll give them some color,” Price continued, “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.”

Whatever pretensions the Obama administration had about being straight-shooting or exceptional just went “poof.”

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