Where’s the outrage over Obama’s fake news peddling?

Fake news is making big news lately following a shooting at a DC restaurant that fell victim to a widely-circulated farcical news story. 

Fortunately for anyone in the kid-friendly Comet ping pong restaurant in Northwest Washington, nobody was injured after a man fired an AR-15 in the restaurant. He has since been arrested and jailed.

{mosads}But the finger-pointing is now at a fever pitch in the world of cable news. And like every other daily crisis political media loves to inflate to DEFCON 5, that finger is pointing responsibility for fake news at the feet of … President-elect Trump and his team.

But the same outrage over fake news made barely a ripple in the media pond when this occurred on several notable occasions during the Obama Administration, particularly during the latter half. The examples are blatant, dangerous and disturbing. But because — and this is just a guess — a (D) follows the 44th president’s name instead of the (R) that follows Trump, the bias of omission was apparent.

Example #1 was revealed earlier this year, when Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes — the brother of CBS News President David Rhodes — literally bragged to the New York Times how easy it was for the administration to dupe reporters when shaping a narrative to their liking.

“All these newspapers used to have foreign bureaus,” Rhodes told the Times in May. “Now they don’t. They call us to explain to them what’s happening in Moscow and Cairo. Most of the outlets are reporting on world events from Washington. The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change.”

“They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes and his assistant, Ned Price, proceeded to boast how the narrative around the unpopular Iran nuclear was relatively easy to establish with a press all too eager to believe what they were being told.

Per the New York Times’ David Samuels:

In this environment, Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums, each of which has its own dedicated press corps. “But then there are sort of these force multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them — ”

“I can name them,” I said, ticking off a few names of prominent Washington reporters and columnists who often tweet in sync with White House messaging.

Price laughed. “I’ll say, ‘Hey, look, some people are spinning this narrative that this is a sign of American weakness,’ ” he continued, “but — ”

“In fact it’s a sign of strength!” I said, chuckling.

“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.”

Hilarious, right? Fake news being created successfully sold and being celebrated — in print — by a New York Times reporter and members of the Obama Administration.

The story proceeds to put forward more admissions by Rhodes that show a gleeful willingness to lie to the American people to accomplish the mission of completing the deal in an effort to add to the president’s list of legacy accomplishments.

Part of the narrative Rhodes sought to sell surrounded the Obama administration assertion that “moderates” were gaining more control in Iran’s political universe and could therefore be more pragmatic and measured than the “Death to America” mullah crowd in power there.

Rhodes proceeds to admit that “we are not betting on” political change in Iran, the leading state sponsor of terror. The legacy of his boss, after all absolutely needed to triumph over safety and security in the Middle East and world as a whole.  

So … were there demands to President Obama to denounce from deeply concerned media members and especially media reporters of this blatant act of deception that members of his team had the hubris to actually brag about publicly?


Was Rhodes and/or Price asked to resign?

Rhetorical question.

But Trump — because the son of a member of his team (Gen. Michael Flynn) is stupid and apparently stubborn enough to continue to push the fallacy that is #pizzagate — Trump is a threat to a free press and democracy as we know it and needs to be held accountable on this, just like President Obama wasn’t.

Need another example of fake news posing as real news lately? Simply read all about Jonathan Gruber also showing ample public bravado of his own in selling Obamacare to the American people.

“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber infamously said in 2014 well after the Affordable Care Act became law. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

 Per The Hill at the time:

Gruber made the comment while discussing how the law was ‘written in a tortured way’ to avoid a bad score from the Congressional Budget Office. He suggested that voters would have rejected ObamaCare if the penalties for going without health insurance were interpreted as taxes, either by budget analysts or the public.

If CBO scored the [individual] mandate as taxes, the bill dies,” Gruber said.

If you had a law that made it explicit that healthy people are going to pay in and sick people are going to get subsidies, it would not have passed,” he added.

In the case, conservative media and opinion makers made a big stink over these comments, and rightly so. But the left-leaning voices you’re seeing all over cable news over the past two days becoming unhinged over #pizzagate and attempting to connect it back to Trump were largely silent with Rhodes, Price and Gruber because of the administration and party in power in the executive branch 

Bias of omission one day is unhinged selective outrage the next.

You want to know why fake news isn’t so easy to spot?

Because real news created by real people in real administrations has been bought too many times hook, line and sinker.

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill

Tags #Pizzagate Barack Obama Ben Rhodes CBS Democratic Party Donald Trump Fake News Foreign policy Iran nuclear deal New York Times Republican Party United States Washington D.C. Washington Post

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