*UPDATE 3/21/12 - Anita Dunn responds! (Via The Washington Post)
The Washington Times affiliated radio program America’s Morning News spoke with former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, who is now a managing Director at the Washington D.C. based PR firm SKD Knickerbocker, on Sunday.
She refused to answer questions regarding concerns about how much of a role the White House played in Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke’s appearance before a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee to testify about Georgetown Law Center’s lack of contraception coverage. According to reports, Dunn’s firm represented Fluke.
Ms. Dunn also did not want to say if she thought HBO’s Bill Maher was out of line when he called former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a particular slur.
Dunn kept referring to how “legitimate news” organizations operate. Dunn has used this line before and more than likely encourages her associates, allies, and former White House colleagues to use it as well as part of a political campaign against news outlets, personalities, and coverage liberals dislike. Media Matters discusses in their own documentation how to use this line of attack. In October of 2009, The New York Times reported:
Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.
“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”
It should be noted that back when Dunn left the White House in 2009, the Washington Post reported that she would still be consulting for the Oval Office on strategic matters in her new job:
White House communications director Anita Dunn will step down from her post at the end of the month and Dan Pfeiffer, her deputy, will take over, according to sources familiar with the move.
Dunn, a longtime Democratic media consultant, took over the job on an interim basis earlier this year when Ellen Moran abruptly left the post to take a job at the Commerce Department. Dunn will return to Squier Knapp Dunn, the consulting firm where she is a partner, but will remain as a consultant to the White House on the communications and strategic matters.
The move will be formally announced later today.
On Oct. 11, speaking on CNN, Dunn attacked Fox News as “a wing of the Republican Party.” Her comments sparked a fresh battle between the White House and the network. In response to the criticism, Fox News executive Michael Clemente said in a statement that Obama’s aides had decided to “declare war on a news organization.”
A source inside the White House, who was not authorized to speak about strategy meetings, said at the time that Dunn went out front against Fox first and foremost because it was her job, but also because it potentially gave the administration the opportunity to distance itself from the flap with the Roger Ailes-led news channel once she leaves the communications job.