To hear the accounts of administration officials and critics, “Confidence Men” author Ron Suskind is an exaggerator. He takes facts and interviews and other data points, goes the critique, and rolls them into something greater than the sum of their parts.
Whatever the merits of the critique on the literary front, it appears to have gained some traction on the broadcast front via Suskind’s CNN interview yesterday. In an informative talk with “Reliable Sources” host Howard Kurtz, Suskind alleged something killer and then un-alleged it.
The flip-flop came as the two were discussing the motives of those who have come forward to renounce their on-the-record quotes to Suskind. Take it away, transcript:
SUSKIND: This is part of the pushback that’s happening where the White House is calling everybody and saying, ‘Are you loyal to the president? Certainly say something now which in some ways kicks up dust about this book that we feel hurts him.’”
KURTZ: Hold it — you’re making a serious allegation. You’re saying that some of these former officials are disputing what they said to you because they’re under pressure from the Obama White House, not because they disagree with your rendering of events.
SUSKIND: In a moment like this when the president is seen as under attack by a book in which they’re a main character, they are going to feel pressure, period. They’re going to feel pressure by simply living in America. At a moment like this, they do get calls. I’m not saying they did get calls — I don’t know that. But it is indisputable that that’s what happens — that’s the way the world works.