We talked some earlier this week about sourcing and disputed quotes in Ron Suskind's new book. There was some sense in comments that Ron Suskind should turn over his tapes. Well in one case, he's done just that:
One of the most striking quotes in the book came from former White House communications director Anita Dunn , who was quoted as saying that, "this place would be in court for a hostile workplace. . . . Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."Dunn says she was quoted out of context and told The Post on Friday that she told Suskind "point blank" that the White House was not a hostile work environment. On Monday, Suskind allowed a Post reporter to review a recorded excerpt of the original interview, which took place over the telephone in April.In that conversation, Dunn is heard telling Suskind about a conversation she had with Jarrett. "I remember once I told Valerie that, I said if it weren't for the president, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace," Dunn is heard telling Suskind. "Because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."
This doesn't really rise to the level of "point blank," and, in both cases, it seems clear Dunn is asserting that the White House had, at some point, some sort of problem with women on staff. I really wish she had pressed that point, as it seems like an important critique.
That said, those two sentences don't really mean the same thing. In one instances Dunn is accusing the White House of being "a hostile workplace" worthy of a court suit. In another she's crediting the president with seemingly fighting on behalf of women staffers.
I think Suskind should have left those words in--he still could have made his point. Either way Dunn is saying that, at some point, there was a problem.