A fiction writer and former Obama Administration strategist changed tactics of DC spin
Echo chambers — a media phenomena in which information, ideas, or allegations are amplified and reinforced by repetition — have been with us as long as there’s been party politics.
Before radio, television and the Internet, when printed newspapers issued news, the editors and news syndicates had monopoly power to embrace allies and destroy opponents. As Aled Jones noted in Powers of the Press, newspapers then “had been securely implanted into the cultural landscape as an essential reference point in the daily lives of millions of people”.
That changed with social media and journalism’s democratization.
Enter Ben Rhodes
Fiction writer and President Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes planted the narrative that the Obama Administration had been working with Iranian moderates for two years to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear arms treaty with Iran. Not true, it was a fabrication.
For his Iran narrative, Ben Rhodes used a “well-cultivated network of officials, talking heads, columnists and newspaper reporters, web jockeys and outside advocates who can tweet at critics and tweak their stories backed up by quotations from senior White House officials and spokespeople.” (From New Times Magazine writer, David Samuels.) Further, in a questionable and highly criticized move, Rhodes used (duped) two respected inside the beltway journalists to fuel the false narrative.
Rhodes had revolutionized White House spin and the nature of echo chambers.