Neoconservatives are furious that their efforts to trick the country into another unnecessary war in the Middle East failed.
They spent tens of millions of dollars in an orchestrated campaign to kill diplomacy with Iran. They lost. The nuclear agreement with Iran is in place and working. It has prevented an Iranian bomb and prevented a new war.
They can't stand it. Over the past few weeks they have launched a wave of attacks on those they hold responsible for thwarting their plans: the Obama Administration, independent experts and advocates, and the hated "liberal media."
It is logical for opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran to want to see their failure as the result of evil spin masters. Many of them supported the invasion of Iraq. Many were part of the campaign to generate support for that war. Opponents of the Iran agreement may assume that the Obama Administration copied the Bush playbook. Or the "White Propaganda" operations used by the Reagan administration's Office of Public Diplomacy to sell support for the wars in Central America in the 1980's.
Over the past two weeks, The New York Times Magazine published two lengthy pieces by David Samuels claiming that President Obama "actively misled" the American people on the Iran Deal. The House Government Oversight Committee staged a hearing with only opponents of the deal to denounce Obama, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and -- among other targets -- the foundation I head, Ploughshares Fund.
On Friday, Bradley Klapper wrote an Associated Press story published in dozens of newspapers around the country claiming that Ploughshares Fund was a "key surrogate in selling the Iran nuclear deal" and that our support for independent media coverage of nuclear issues - including a $100,000 grant to NPR - was "tremendously troubling," according to a quoted source. It was strikingly similar to an attack on NPR and us four years ago by the conservative Free Beacon that claimed "Ploughshares Fund gives millions to slant coverage on Iran."
Over the past few days, I have personally been the target of harassing hate tweets slandering me, reporters who have interviewed me, and Ploughshares Fund. The goal is clear: intimidate us into backing down; intimidate journalists from talking to us; smear the administration and major media as liars and paid tools.
Setting the Record Straight
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is common practice for foundations to fund media coverage of under-reported stories and perspectives. For some, this might be global health, poverty or the impact of conflict on civilians. For Ploughshares Fund, this means bringing much-needed attention to the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Our support of independent media such as NPR and PRI does not influence the editorial content of their coverage in any way, nor would we want it to.
NPR has assets of almost $350 million. Last year, it received almost $95 million in support from a wide-range of corporations and foundations, including major defense contractors and conservative foundations, and, of course, "listeners like you." The idea that a $100,000 grant could slant their news coverage is ludicrous.
So is the idea that we are somehow hiding our support for NPR. I guess having it announced every week on the radio is not enough. We also publish a full listing of our grants every year. And we detailed the key role played by civil society in securing the Iran Deal -- the most significant national security victory in a generation -- on our special web page, "How We Won."
Ploughshares Fund has been making the world safer since the height of the Cold War. The core of our mission was and is to peacefully reduce and ultimately eliminate nuclear weapons threats. The media is essential to informing and educating Americans of the risks that nuclear weapons -- and dangerous nuclear weapon policies -- pose to humanity.
Mr. Klapper's piece also insinuates that there is something underhanded about funding security experts, peace advocates, and when relevant, regional experts. No matter what the opponents of the Iran deal say, our work is not about politics. It's about the future safety and security of our country, and of the world.
Klapper's article was no doubt influenced by Samuels' grossly skewed version of reality. Samuels spun the facts and quotes to feed his own fictional narrative. Many have refuted all his major claims, including Jeffrey Goldberg, Fred Kaplan, Matthew Yglesias, Eric Levitz and Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
Preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb has been a key goal of Ploughshares Fund and many other security experts for decades. To suggest otherwise -- as Samuels did -- is absurd. Our expertise in this field is nationally recognized. We and other experts were promoting negotiations long before this administration took office, as I detailed in a widely shared and cited Politico article.
Ploughshares Fund is firmly nonpartisan. Our support of the Iran deal was based on policy, not politics.
We back the administration when they're right, we oppose them when they're wrong. We supported the administration's New START Treaty with Russia and the historic Iran agreement because they make America safer. We oppose the administration's $1 trillion plan to build new nuclear weapons because it makes the world more dangerous. We always act independently based on our own mission to reduce nuclear threats.
We will continue to do so - no matter who is in the Oval Office.
We will never be intimidated from telling the truth.
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