Several days ago, I received an email from Mark Dubowitz, the executive director of a Washington think tank called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Dubowitz is an expert on sanctions, and has been one of the most ardent and effective opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement (though not quite effective enough to stop it, as he himself would note). The subject line of Dubowitz’s e-mail was, “Rhodes,” and his message to me was simple: What Ben Rhodes just did to you is terrible. “You’re a great reporter,” Dubowitz wrote. “Keep up your important work.”
My problem, at that moment, was that I didn’t know what Ben Rhodes—President Obama’s deputy national security adviser—had done to me. But Dubowitz’s Don’t worry, you’ll probably be okay in the long run-tone put me in an apocalyptic frame of mind.
Dubowitz was referring, it turns out, to a single line in a long profile of Rhodes in the New York Times Magazine, written by the one-time Atlantic writer, and current Tablet Magazine literary editor, David Samuels. The profile posits that Rhodes manipulated the press, and the public, into believing various untrue things about the Iran deal. Deep in the article, Samuels named me as one of those manipulated reporters, writing, in a discussion about the way he believes information to be transmitted today, that, “For those in need of more traditional-seeming forms of validation, handpicked Beltway insiders like Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Laura Rozen of Al-Monitor helped retail the administration’s narrative.”