The Ben Rhodes story takes me back to the infamous Atlantic article of September 1981, “The Education of David Stockman.” That was the story where lefty writer William Greider sweet-talked a gullible and naive David Stockman into confessing that supply-side economics was supposedly a trickle-down fraud (though in fact Stockman never understood it and wasn’t a sympathizer to begin with).
The media greeted that story as a major scandal about the Reagan Administration. By contrast, the revelation that the White House manipulated the media because, as Ben Rhodes rightly said, “they literally know nothing,” has not caused the media to be outraged that the White House was deceitful in the same way it argued in 1981.
Lots of reasons for this, of course, starting with the sympathy most journalists have for Obama and his Iran diplomacy. As several people have pointed out, the real ruckus here is not the revelation that the White House lied, but that the media have been exposed for the lightweights they are. That’s much more unforgivable than being lied to. Did Rhodes have to rub their noses in it? Let’s start calling them (Ben) Rhodes Scholars for their acuity.