Wemple: Out-of-context quote complaints are a cover

Washington Post
As highlights from Ron Suskind’s book about the Obama administration started making their way online, the author’s sources — including former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn — quickly offered denials or claimed their quotes were taken out of context. Erik Wemple isn’t buying it:

As my experience goes, the quote-out-of-context contention is the reflex response of people who committed the very human act of getting too truthful in an interview with a good reporter. Whatever their merits, the allegations often produce nothing but a standoff between the journalist and the subject, with both protesting that they have it right.

Unless there’s an available recording, in which case juicy fact-checking can take place. That’s the scenario that has unfolded over the past couple of days in the Suskind-Dunn clash. The Post arranged with Suskind to listen to his recordings and produced a story comparing the version of Dunn’s controversial quote as it appears in “Confidence Men” with the one on Suskind’s taped interview.

Suskind almost sounded sympathetic toward his accusatory sources in a “Today” show appearance earlier this week:

“Everyone is under a lot of pressure; it’s a political season,” Suskind told Ann Curry. “The fact of the matter is, all of them said everything; we have extensive notes and tapes for this book.”

He added: “Everything in this book is as solid as a brick.”

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  • Anonymous

    “My reporting has never been brought into any serious
    question….” Suskind says.

    Yeah, except for the last book
    and the one
    before that.