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Correcting my Kersten criticism

As Felix Unger once said, “When you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.'”
By David Brauer

Well, as Tony Randall explained on the Odd Couple, “When you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’”

This morning, I noted a non-frothing exchange between Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and John Stossel over Katherine Kersten’s attacks on the University of Minnesota School of Education. I assumed she hadn’t talked to her targets because there were no quotes from U officials in her original piece; and only a quote via Fox News in her second piece.

But I was wrong when I wrote Kersten was “unwilling to expose her thesis to doubters.” My apologies to her and you.

Kersten says she talked to three Education Department officials before the original piece: Dean Jean Quam, Associate Dean Mary Trettin and Michael Goh, a faculty member. According to U spokesperson Dan Wolter, the officials told Kersten “that no college policy or curriculum plan now requires — or will require — students to subscribe to a particular ideology.”

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The weird thing — and I’ll admit, it contributed to my stupid assumption — is that the U’s position wasn’t in Kersten’s first piece. Simple fairness says you include their contention, even to bat it down.

Given her conversations, it’s also that much weirder that in her follow-up column, Kersten included a second-hand U statement (via Fox), rather than use her own interviews. But even if readers didn’t get both sides, Kersten did talk to her targets, and next time, I will too.