Did a major publishing house plagiarize the title of a questionable new White House novel from another author?

By Anna Wilding on August 7, 2018

Award winning actor, director, and former White House correspondent/photographer

OP ED (Herald de Paris) — I am Anna Wilding. I didn’t sleep with anyone in the Obama White House like this girl, Beck Dorey-Stein.  Similarly, I didn’t accept little girl waves from the President and presume they were meant solely for me;  share athletic equipment with the POTUS, or make eyes at the leader of the western world.  I was there to do a job. It took grit, stamina, guts and patience – A lot of patience.  It also took an innate sense of non-partisanship, and an understanding of professional ethics.

I started writing my book after I left covering the White House, and stopped writing for a time when my father passed away. In that time, I pitched Penguin Random House my chick lit title called, “From Hollywood to the White House,” or alternatively, “From New Zealand to the White House.”  Lo and behold, Penguin Random House titled this typists’ book, “From the Corner of the Oval.” My what a coincidence given I had pitched them nearly the same title.

Former White House typist Beck Dory-Stein writes about her illicit affair(s) with a Senior Staffers in the Obama White House; the time(s) she betrayed her female colleague(s).  Not only does it demean, the heretofore scandal free Obama White House, but it insults the hard working men and women of the Executive Branch and all the correspondents who covered them.

It also sets women back 100 years. It also reeks of a formerly respected publishing house going for cheap tabloid type stories and rewarding bad behaviour.

For a New Zealand-born girl, and a longtime patriotic American resident, covering the White House from within its inner core was actually an honor; a privilege; and an extraordinary experience.  It was an honor to serve.  I showed up to the White House press digs early, stayed late, and did my job to the best of my abilities.  Having a White House affair, or any affair, was not in my DNA.  I quickly learned who my friends were in the press corps, and who were lined up to crawl over me.  At first it wasn’t easy.  Eventually, it became commonplace.

Prior to the White House, I spent years at the higher levels of the Hollywood film business.  My White House story includes the stomach churning time I had to cover Harvey Weinstein visiting the White House, taking his place beside Michelle Obama.  I was screaming inside, “No Michelle, No.”  I was so shocked.  How can our iconic First Lady, whom I adored, be siding with one of the worst casting couch offenders in Hollywood, and yet outwardly be supporting kids and women?  It was a total contradiction and hard to deal with. It was like working a long day, then waking up at sunset, getting dressed at midnight, and going out to work again, instead of going to sleep.  It was just wrong.

There were many moments in the White House where I had to bring all my experiences and wisdom into play.  My story is not of twinkle eyes and flirting on athletic machines and White House affairs, but instead of grappling with some of the deepest stories of human nature, from the Paris attacks to the Zika virus; From ending up as a commentator on Israeli TV while dealing with my own news outlet being hit with two hard hacks;  combined with creating some stunning positive moments through photographs that went viral.  My story has its place in the Me Too movement and the national global stage. It is a foreigner’s view and an American patriots view of the most important office in the world, how I got there,  and how I earned my place.  Let us not let one single story, such as a shallow badly written chick lit piece, define or reduce the Office of the President of the United States.

In the past year, the sanctity of the office of the President has been watered down like the booze at cheaply catered wedding. We need to stop that. The Obama White House was not perfect all the time, but reducing it to the level of one loose girl’s questionable escapades is neither honest or truthful to the dignified way former President Barack Obama upheld the highest office of the land.  Nor does it exemplify the hard and seamless work of many dedicated staffers, White House correspondents, and photographers.

How can you trust a typist who worked in the White House for four years, taking notes for her own novel, and having an affair with a senior staffer? And how can you fully trust her transcriptions?  Truth be told, there were mistakes in the transcripts over the years and some of these were bought up by the Press Pool at the time.

Who was she having an affair with? We know several staffers she wasn’t having an affair with.  As Jerry Seinfield would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”  And let’s get back to that “twinkle” wave the author cites repeatedly, for a minute.  I have photos of President Obama waving directly at me – the way he only waved at Bo and Sunny … and the storm troopers.  I swear there were some days I thought R2D2 was going to be coordinating the Chief of Staff – not that there’s anything wrong with that either. “Help us Obama-wan Kanobi,  you are our only hope.”  Perhaps the only thing worse than no typist is having a typist and transcriber with her own personal agenda.

Ms. Dorey-Stein claims she got her job through Craigslist.  Really?  Love to see the backroom deal on how that went down.  Are we really to believe that an attorney placed the ad on Craigslist for the Executive Branch of the White House, instead of using a myriad of highly respected stenographer temp pool agencies that had professional stenographers?  Think about it – why wouldn’t the Executive Branch of the United States government not want to use  a professional stenographer?  Hmm.  I wonder if Ms. Dorey-Stein got one of her “benefactors’ to place the so-called ad that way .  I doubt the Executive Branch, the highest level of federal government, hired attorneys to place Craigslist ads for them to find low-level staffers. Just saying.

Now I must get back to my book(though somewhat disheartened) about the honor it was to cover President Barack Obama, and the highest office in the land and one of the most distinguished in the world.I think I shall now call mine”From Hollywood to the Oval Office” (or “From New Zealand to the Oval Office” instead of From NZ to the White House’)

  • In emails exchanged with Penguin, Penguin agree and admit to receiving my initial pitch and title for my story. Penguin believe their use of similar title and name okay? So I guess I shall just my title as above to reflect this.”From Hollywood to the Other Corner of the Oval Office” or from “Hollywood to the Right Corner of the Oval Office”Who knew an Oval had four corners.In spite of the this girl’s book deal apparently being closed before mine, the title clearly came later and Penguin refuse to answer all questions when their imprint, and how their imprint ,actually named their book and how,instead trying to justify how the misappropriation is okay.So now on Penguin logic-my title ” From the right corner of the Oval Office”

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