Work on the beam
Although I don’t quote the Bible very often, may I suggest a passage that Dale Courtney might want to take to heart after railing against so-called mainstream media for misleading readers while completely ignoring the copious amounts of disinformation and outright lying that is proffered every day by conservative media outlets. As a professed religious person, he might already be familiar with this passage from Luke 6:41.
“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye?”
In his latest column, Dale offers up three rather flimsy examples (one from 2016!! and one that the information in question was corrected two days later) of how the “legacy media” has lied to its audience in the past few years, while completely ignoring the misinformation, disinformation and lying that takes place nearly every minute on conservative media outlets.
I would bet that in one show, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity tell more lies than the “legacy media” tell in a year. One might ask, why do you point out lies in the journalism you don’t like but completely ignore the hate-filled news and screeds that come out of the mouths of the ones you follow and agree with? Like David Nice so succinctly put it in his letter to the editor Oct. 29, could Dale be starting with his desired conclusion and finding the evidence to support those conclusions? Oh, you mean like he accused the mainstream media of doing? Better start working on that beam, Dale!
Deny, deny, deny
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Philip A. Deutchman
“The ruler in Olympia has not made Washington any better than other states in terms of transmission of COVID-19. The community spread in several other states with fewer to no regulations, both blue and red, is lower than ours. We have had our civil rights retarded and we are no better off.”
So reads the latest deranged rambling from Scotty Anderson. Why is it that Anderson, a self proclaimed master of applied logic, seems utterly unable to make a point without being dishonest? While he is not alone in this among Daily News columnists (Dale Courtney is quite obviously the king of disingenuous “facts”) this particular column ranks among his more egregious examples.
States with the fewest per capita cases (least transmission) since the start of the pandemic are, in order (statisca.com,) Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, Oregon, Maryland and Washington. I suppose one might be stating a fact by saying there are “several” states where transmission is lower than in Washington, provided one counts 5 out of 50 as “several.” None of them seem to be red, though. For the red states, one must look to the list of highest transmission rates. Those would be North Dakota, Alaska, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Dakota, South Carolina, Florida and Utah. How logically challenged does one have to be in order to make the statement “has not made Washington any better than other states in terms of transmission” when in fact Washington ranks among the best of states in terms of per capita transmission?
And tell us again (or rather, for the first time since your column fails to name any) which of the red states among the “several with fewer or no regulations, both blue and red” have lower transmission rates? I dunno, Scotty. Seems to me your presumably logical application of the facts could use some work. Or is it just that you know better and consciously choose to lie to your readers about it, because your masterly logic is so faulty that it can’t be applied with honesty in support of your premise? Trust me. If you want to be persuasive, Courtney is not the guy to emulate.
How about three strikes
I am writing in support of Joe Cook’s proposal (Daily News, Nov. 2) requiring columnists to cite sources for the facts/claims in their columns. As Mr. Cook describes, these sources could be provided as active hyperlinks in the online version only. This is a “best practice” as currently demonstrated by the nation’s best newspapers. I agree also that this requirement need not apply to letter writers. That said, it’s been good to see on at least two recent occasions, a letter flagged with a link to COVID facts. This sends a very clear message that statements in the letter should be examined critically.
Like Mr. Cook, I was initially persuaded by Doug Call’s thoughtful column arguing that fact checking was not feasible or perhaps advisable for our local paper. And, as Doug has also advocated, it’s been gratifying to see so many locals write to refute misinformation and disinformation — and to call bullsh*t when needed. However, I know Doug Call as a colleague, friend and outstanding scientist. I know the kind of critical research he invests in every column. We have other columnists who do the same, but also a handful who are making the Daily News part of the problem when it comes to misinformation and disinformation — instead of part of the solution.
We are fortunate to still have a community newspaper. I appreciate being able to follow local news and value the ability to read thoughtful essays from community members. However, Mr. Cook expressed my feelings perfectly when he wrote: “most weeks I still struggle to reconcile how my subscription dollars support the spreading of lies.”
Beyond citing sources, I might also advocate for a “3 strikes” policy by which columnists who are repeatedly caught in misrepresenting facts and scientific consensus would be suspended, at least temporarily.