Why Ben Rhodes and Facebook Admitted Manipulating Us

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Why Ben Rhodes and Facebook Admitted Manipulating Us

Reading about the Ben Rhodes and Facebook scandals the past two weeks, I can’t help thinking of the villains’ exultant monologue in just about every cheesy B-movie ever. The hero is taken by surprise and captured. Now strapped to a table or chained to the wall, he’s watching helplessly as a death ray or some such is charged to destroy the planet. Relishing the moment right before all his plans come to fruition, his foe the hero vanquished by his prowess and cunning, the villain explains the entire genius scheme to the defeated hero, and of course the audience also. This is gloating, pure and simple. The villain is adding insult to injury, and telling us all just how terribly clever he had to be to beat us.

What both the Ben Rhodes and Facebook “leaks” should tell us is that the powers that be on the Left aren’t even trying to hide anymore the way they suppress dissenting voices and spread lies in our education system and mainstream media outlets. They’re so cocky and confident that they control the narrative and that we the teeming unwashed masses will passively accept whatever they tell us to think, feel, and believe that now they’re happy to admit it to our face that they’re manipulating us. After all, what are we going to do about it, strapped to the table or chained to the wall like this?

Facebook Censorship of Conservative News

Monday it was leaked to the public by former employees of Facebook that the social networking giant has been censoring conservative voices and stories on their website. Put simply, Facebook’s Trending feature – which shows users the stories and topics being discussed and shared most on the platform – is being actively manipulated by curators to cultivate public opinion.

Certain disfavored political figures – Senator Ted Cruz, for instance – were either completely ignored or else shown in a negative light.

On the other hand, certain political causes and stories important to Facebook management – immigration for Mark Zuckerburg, perhaps? – were given prominent places even if they weren’t naturally trending before being promoted by the curators. Then, after being promoted, some of those otherwise uninteresting stories gained traction with Facebook users and became trending topics.

On the other hand, if a conservative outlet or personality like Glenn Beck or National Review broke a story and was receiving a lot of shares, the curators would find a “more balanced” source to link to, thereby guarding Facebook users from being accidentally exposed to voices that might be too critical of the Left.

In a nutshell, Facebook – which accounts for one in five page views in the United States – manipulated what news its users could see, with conservative figures, causes, and outlets being systematically censored and suppressed. This has been long suspected and hinted at, but now we have official confirmation.

But that’s not all.

Obama Administration Brags About Media Manipulation… Again

Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, speechwriter, and master manipulator Ben Rhodes bragged to the New York Times last week about creating echo chambers of misinformation in the mainstream media, particularly for the selling of the Iran Nuclear Deal to the American people.

Yes, read that a second time. Rhodes bragged about it. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue.

By Rhodes’ own admission, he was instrumental in creating these echo chambers, writing the script for a handful of young, inexperienced, sympathetic, know-nothing journalists at prominent magazines and newspapers who then dutifully regurgitated what they received from the White House to their wide readerships, passing blatant propaganda off as diligent journalism. Then their spin was picked up and carried by other sympathetic, left-leaning outlets.

For example, Rhodes admits that everyone knew the Iranians weren’t being led by open-minded moderates we could trust after Hassan Rouhani was elected in 2013; yet all the same the American people were told the time to strike a deal was now, before the Iranians might be tempted to elect hardliners again and the window of opportunity passed. Anyone opposing Obama’s proposed deal – particularly Republicans – was accused of warmongering by the administration and many of its compliant left-wing media appendages.

Employing his education and background as an aspiring novelist, Ben Rhodes served President Obama’s ambition of getting the American people to accept the Iran Nuclear Deal by crafting a clever but dishonest narrative and then feeding it to well-placed and obedient actors throughout the mainstream media. And this in order to deceive people like you and me into believing that the consensus of experts supported Obama’s assertions and goals. In essence, we were all lied to by the Obama administration, and now Ben Rhodes is gleefully telling us how they did it.

Though shocking, these Ben Rhodes and Facebook leaks aren’t entirely unprecedented.

The recent Ben Rhodes interview with The New York Times could be compared to MIT economist Jonathon Gruber’s off-the-cuff remarks several years ago about how the Obama White House relied on “the stupidity of the American voter” to get the Affordable Care Act passed, and how “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”

Yet where Gruber’s remarks were leaked to the public after being made at private dinners and speaking events, Rhodes’ is consciously spilling his guts to The New York Times knowing full-well that his interview with them is going to be front-page news all over America in no-time flat. Whether Gruber’s gaffe was hubris accidentally getting the better of him or not, Rhodes’ can’t be written off with that explanation quite so easily.

This begs the obvious question: Why? Why would Ben Rhodes tell us these things?

Either the villain is confident he holds all the cards and is trying to persuade his opposition to give up because he can’t possibly be defeated. Or perhaps he’s bluffing about how good his hand is, hoping the hero won’t struggle or think his way back into a successful counter-move. Or else the villain is trying to goad his adversary further into a trap, taunting and baiting him by pretending to show his vulnerable belly, then planning on springing an even greater ambush once the hero lunges.

Yes, Facebook employees might blow whistles on their own like so many Edward Snowdens telling the world what the NSA is doing behind closed doors. But Ben Rhodes is a different story. He’s no amateur, low-level lackey going rogue. He’s a disciplined senior advisor to the President of the United States, responsible for masterminding his PR strategy in pursuit of historic shifts in public opinion.

And Rhodes isn’t blowing the whistle either, not even subtly criticizing Obama as Secretaries of Defense Gates, Panetta, and Hagel have in their post-administration writings and speeches. Not unless his leak to the Times is an indirect sabotage of Obama in the last remaining months of his time in office, but that seems far-fetched.

Not only this, but by the very nature of these leaks – first from Ben Rhodes, then from Facebook, both within a week of one another – one has to wonder how complex the game the Left is playing might be. Both stories can be distilled to an admission that the Left actively and painstakingly controls what news you see and hear to accomplish its political aims. This naturally begs the question of why any truly sophisticated mass manipulation scheme wouldn’t include the very leaks themselves which disclose that mass manipulation scheme to the public.

After all, leaks have been used by this administration routinely to push and pull levers and buttons both foreign and domestic over the past seven years. If Rhodes’ interview with The New York Times were a deliberate and calculated move by Obama to hit another pressure point in pursuit of his larger agenda, it would hardly be the first time his administration has done something like that.

If these leaks from Ben Rhodes and Facebook were deliberate and intentional efforts at mass manipulation, what might the response they were meant to elicit be?

They might be to discourage or frustrate conservative voices like mine, assuring us we aren’t going to be heard or make a difference on the national discourse, hoping we’ll realize we’re beaten, then give up and shut up.

“Join me, and together we’ll rule the galaxy!”

Or these leaks could be to provoke an angry response from conservatives, especially Trump supporters, making the Democrats’ opponents look as unreasonable, irrational, and dangerous as the Left likes to constantly paint them.

Smart money is on the first at least, but probably on the second as well.

Just consider the timing, right after Cruz and Kasich have dropped out of the race. Now we know Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President. What have we seen all over America the past several months?

We’ve seen repeated instances of Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros activist groups organizing angry, violent demonstrations, even going so far as hiring actors on Craigslist to protest Trump speeches and public events. We’ve seen agitation at Trump’s political events obviously designed to provoke an angry, violent, unruly response from Trump supporters. We’ve seen highways blocked off, Trump supporters beaten in the streets, and death-threats made. Back in August a cop car was smashed in Costa Mesa, California.

Yet this fascistic campaign has mostly backfired so far. Aside from contributing to general pandemonium and chaos and thereby turning off more tepid folks to the whole process, the anti-Trump protests and demonstrations have made Trump supporters look like victims and the opposition to Trump look like brutal, unruly thugs.

What if leaks from Rhodes and Facebook as to their dominance not only of the mainstream media but of the internet domain are another calculated and intentional provocation of conservatives? And not just conservatives, but especially the angriest, most frustrated, most desperate Republicans: Trump supporters.

Now that Trump is the nominee and he’s training his sights on Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, the American Left is feeling the pressure to even the odds or turn the tables. What better way to do that then to make conservatives generally, but Trump supporters especially, feel as though they have no voice unless they take to the streets or respond in anger? What better way to force a confrontation which the compliant mainstream media will glibly capture and spin for the American public in a way that makes Trump an unacceptable candidate for President?

Closing Thoughts on Deception, Manipulation, and Premeditated Divisiveness

“There are six things Yahweh hates,

seven that are detestable to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked schemes,

feet that are quick to rush into evil,

a false witness who pours out lies

and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

Proverbs 6:16-19 (ESV)

My fellow Americans, we need to stop dismissing stories like these about Ben Rhodes and Facebook and their liberal bias, rolling our eyes about politics as usual.

What’s being done in America by the Left isn’t gray. According to the Bible, these things are absolutely black and white. This isn’t primarily a question of Republican versus Democrat, Conservative versus Liberal, or big government and big corporations versus the common man. This is a question of good versus evil, and its well past time we picked a side.

Now is a time for choosing whether we are content to be lied to and manipulated, and then sneered at to our faces as these manipulators arrogantly boast of the advantage they’ve gained over us through their brilliant schemes and our passive gullibility.

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

Follow Garrett Mullet:

Christian, husband to a darling wife, and father to seven children - I enjoy pipe-smoking, playing strategy games on my computer, listening to audio books, and writing. When I'm not asking you questions out loud, I'm endlessly asking myself silent questions in my head. I believe in God's grace, hard work, love, patience, contemplation, and courage.