I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again – Sally Jo Sorenson of the outstate-MN blog Bluestem Prairie is one of the Minnesota leftybloggers that doesn’t deserve to be under police surveillance.
But every once in a while, Sorenson – usually a capable reporter and observer – lets her inner snarkmeister romp and play a bit too much.
Sorenson jumped on a bit in my piece yesterday on the rhubarb between Rep. Mary Franson and some of her critics. Sorenson wrote:
We’ll get to what Franson actually said about feeding people on food stamps in a bit. But this passage is puzzling:
“the freshman conservative from Alexandria is most famous for the teapot-tempest that blew up last year about her video noting – from the perspective of someone who’d been there – that welfare treats people “like animals”.”
A reasonable reader would conclude upon reading “from the perspective of someone who’d been there” that Berg means that Mary Franson had at one time been on “welfare.”
But only if the “reasonable person” was hovering over the story looking for stray bits of chaff to yank out of context. And yank. And yank.
My line “from one who’s been there” was not implying that Franson had been on welfare. It was a sloppy reference to a bit of Franson’s own bio that has popped up in many of her own statements on the issue. .
And here’s where Sorenson’s thoroughness as a reporter saves the day for me – and sort of makes me wonder why she reached the conclusion she did; she obligingly includes one of Franson’s tellings of her own story, which helped form her views on welfare and dependency. Sally Jo even provided the money quote:
It would have been very easy for me to get on to the system, enroll in all the various social programs, but I decided I wanted a better future for myself and for my future children, so I made up my mind that no matter what, I was going to succeed.
And that’s what happened, I succeeded. Obstacles came in my way and I pursued and I persevered. My successes didn’t come easy though but they were well worth it. I pray everyone in this state and in this country to have the same desire to succeed and be self-reliant.
There is pride in never letting yourself fall into the trap of dependence.
It was to this bit of Franson’s autobiography – which Rep. Franson has told a time or two over the past few years – that I was referring.
A “reasonable person” – the same one Sorenson conjured up when jumping to her conclusion – might think that, in fact, was what I was aiming for. That would, in fact, be the truth.
I regret any confusion – although to be fair, I think the sloppiness of my statement was more than matched by the amount of gratuitous, unfounded assumption that Sorenson jammed into my mouth.
I also regret that Sally Jo Sorenson apparently felt the need to make such a very, very tenuous reach to try to dig up a rhetorical “gotcha”. If I wrote a sloppy rhetorical check, Sorenson grabbed it out of the mail and tried to write a zero at the end of the amount.
While I left an editorial loose end, it was an unsupportable cheap shot. We usually expect better.