The decision by Netflix — the $124 billion streaming service with 118 million subscribers worldwide — to offer as-yet unformed (but possibly very yawn-inducing) content from former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, is coming into sharper focus.
Former U.N. Ambassador and Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice is reportedly joining the entertainment giant’s board.
“We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Rice to the Netflix board,” said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. “For decades, she has tackled difficult, complex global issues with intelligence, integrity and insight and we look forward to benefiting from her experience and wisdom.”
While the first part of the statement that follows “For decades” is true, the latter is certainly debatable. Rice was assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President Bill Clinton and an advisor to the presidential campaign of former Secretary of State John Kerry. If one considers foreign policy that was keenly focused on globalization to the extent that the U.S. was left weakened and exposed on the world stage exceedingly intelligent and heavy with integrity, the last part might also be considered true.
Clinton, for example, had a disastrous record in Africa with the deaths in Rwanda of 18 American troops in 1993 as they attempted to capture a Somalian warlord. Clinton backed off helping stave off the resulting genocide in Rwanda as a result, leading to the deaths of half a million Tutsis. He was also known for appeasement and concessions with North Korea in exchange for ramping down their nuclear ambitions.
And Rice was right there.
And of course, with Obama, Rice had a role in the removal of Gaddafi in Libya, which arguably destabilized the region and led to the events at the CIA consulate at Benghazi where 4 Americans were killed in a terrorist attack — which Rice later lied about and blamed a video and filmmaker she knew had nothing to do with the attack.
In the days and weeks following Benghazi, Rice appeared on TV news shows saying that the violence was a spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video that insulted Islam, though conservative media maintained that it was a coordinated terrorist attack and that Rice was blaming a video to make it appear that Islamic terrorism was largely a thing of the past under Obama.
Four Americans died in Benghazi, an event memorialized in Michael Bay’s 2016 film, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and some Washington insiders said at the time that Rice’s role in the controversy may have cost her an appointment to secretary of state after the resignation of Hillary Clinton, as Obama considered her a top candidate until she withdrew her name from consideration.
Most recently, Rice was implicated in the unmasking scandal of incoming President Donald Trump’s administration officials, for which she was ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing.
In any case, as the Hollywood Reporter notes, Rice brings serious bona fides but not a little bit of scandal to her role as board member at a service that streams 140 million hours worth of TV shows and movies.
What this means in practice is that the Obama agenda is not going anywhere anytime soon and the usual suspects are going to be feeding viewers the same information, just using new platforms to do it. And they will undoubtedly be reaching a tremendous amount of people.