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Sarah, Please Read This Before Talking to the Press (Again)!

By       Message Martha Rosenberg     Permalink
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As someone with a GED I would like to offer you some speech advice that you could use for whatever "the next chapter of life is going to open up into," as you say in the New York Times. Actually that's a good place to start.

You have a tendency, Sarah, to add unnecessary words to sentences and in other places leave out important words.

The "next chapter of life ," would generally not "open" into anything but, rather, "be." Especially because chapters tend to be linear like books rather than holistic like things that open up.

Technically, the chapter could "open," or even "open into" but "open up into" is redundant and wordy.

Now let's look at your response to the charge of McCain staffers that you didn't know if Africa was a country or a continent, also in the New York Times.

You said, "So, no, I think that if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about Nafta, and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context. And that's cruel and it's mean-spirited, it's unprofessional, and those guys are jerks, if they came away with it taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It is not fair and not right."

Because Africa is not a country, it makes no sense for you to say "the continent versus the country" as if a choice exists. The country doesn't exist. Adding "when we talk about Africa" also makes no sense since there is no we involved; it is you who is accused of not knowing the difference. And adding "there"-- "talk about Africa there"-- sounds like people who refer to Latin America as "down there"--provincial and ignorant.

The second sentence, about Nafta, is even worse. What is "it" that the jerks came away with when you say, "they came away with it taking things out of context." Why are "came away" and "tried to spread" past tense and "taking things out of context," present tense-- in the same sentence? When you say "spread something on national news," do you mean inaccurate reporting? Or mononucleosis?

When discussing your media treatment in the New York Times--"For the most part absolutely, media persons, reporters have been absolutely right on and there has been fairness and objectivity"--other difficulties show up.

Did you mean for "absolutely" to modify media persons--they were ABSOLUTELY reporters, not bystanders--or to modify "right on"? I doubt you intended both.

Why do you abandon a perfectly good noun--reporters--and lapse into the third person "there has been fairness and objectivity," in the same sentence?" One minute you are colloquial with "right on" and then you sound like a memo.

And what were you thinking when you came up with the following sentence to dispel the rumor that the Republican National Committee would come to Alaska to audit the clothes you purchased?

"There is no clothes audit, except for when the belly of the plane got cleaned out, all the piles of the clothes that they had in there, they wanted me at my house to go through it and box things up and send it. There's no attorneys coming up, and there's no need for it or anything else. But that'll be nice to have that chapter closed because, as I said from Day 1, I never have asked for anything. I'm not, I'm not keeping anything either.

"There is no clothes audit" is in the present tense but immediately followed by the past tense "when the belly... got cleaned." Who is "they"?

Shouldn't you "box things up" and send "them" not "it"? And send where?

Couldn't you have gotten away with "piles of clothes" or "piles of clothes they had," without the word chain "the piles of the clothes that they had in there"? And did you really want to say "wanted me at my house to go through"? Saying awkwardly the words?

Finally, I think for the first "that" in your last sentence-- "that'll be nice to have that chapter closed"--you mean "it" or "this."

Though, relief that the Sarah chapter is closed is a sentiment the American public shares with you regardless--or, as you might say, irregardless.

Sincerely,

Martha Rosenberg
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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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