Letter writers should adhere to higher standard
August 4, 2022
To The Eagle:
Several weeks ago Rick Nelson enumerated several changes to LTE policy. I welcome them but propose another to enhance civic discourse and further minimize ugly and divisive rhetoric:
“LTE’s must address a singular issue or idea, and make a sincere effort to persuade readers with facts and reason. Overly-broad, generalized lists of grievances and catalogs of personal beliefs will not be printed.”
Limiting letters to a single issue is necessary because many these days simply enumerate dislike of the “other” without any apparent defining purpose. Limiting words does nothing to change this habit, other than shorten the lists.
If folks want to announce how they “feel”, let them do so in a paid ad; not an LTE. They can print their own broadsheet and mail it out to county residents if they feel such urgency. Opinion ought to have some relationship with public interest.
Studies show that misinformation travels faster, by far, than facts. A majority of Americans now get most of their “news” from social media sites on the internet and we now see threats and even violence directed at people based on lies from some sites, to say nothing of hysteria, fear and mistrust.
Ignorance or delusion is no excuse for spreading falsehoods in The Eagle.
Nelson’s efforts to uplift public debate should be fully appreciated, whether you agree or disagree with his editorial bent. Asking letter writers to adhere to a higher standard of responsibility to fact, decency, specificity, and brevity, will benefit us all.