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Letters: It’s good to read opinions one disagrees with

Staff Writer
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

I’m writing in response to Martha Hodge’s letter to the editor published in June 4 Times (See “Pease column was ‘most offensive’”) which was questioning the facts and opinion in a guest editorial by Harold Pease. Answering some of her points on facts:

“How can he say that governors who are Democrats transferred elders with COVID-19 to less competent facilities and hastened their deaths? Who fact checked his claim?”

A quick search using Google found The Associated Press, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal confirm these transfers. I would hesitate to say it was a Democrat / Republican thing, but All the locations I see listed as having transferred active COVID patients out of hospitals to elder care homes did all happen to be in Democrat locations, so the claim is objectively true.

“Hydroxychloroquine is a standard, approved medication for both malaria and lupus but it is not approved by the FDA for most COVID-19 patients. Why does Pease claim that it is a “vastly effective” drug for COVID-19 that is routinely opposed by media outlets?”

Actually, the FDA authorized prescribing these drugs to treat COVID-19 last March. The media disapproval part is pretty obvious. “Vastly effective” is an opinion; effectiveness seems to vary from patient to patient. For some it does seem very effective, not so much for others.

“The government (state and federal) promoted (not required) the closing of much of our economy to slow COVID-19 as it ravaged communities.”

If you opened your business, walked down the street without a “valid” reason, went to church, or got together with a group of friends in your living room to play cards, you could be jailed (in Florida for up to 60 days) and acquire a criminal record. In New York, simply failing to maintain “social distance” earns a $1,000 fine and a record. To me this qualifies as “required” rather than “promoted.”

Perhaps the central thrust of the letter is not a fact, but her conclusion about the column as a whole:

“… the paper believed this would be a well-received column in Franklin County, but I for one found it most offensive and just one offended reader is one too many.”

Perhaps Ms. Hodge misunderstands the purpose of editorials, opinion columns, and journalism in general. Journalism (especially editorial opinion) that never offends even a single reader is utterly worthless. It’s good to read opinions one disagrees with occasionally, particularly if the reasons and logic for such belief are supplied. Sometimes clearly stated opinions supported by sound reasoning based on verifiable facts change minds. Not as often as one might think, but sometimes.

Gary Carroll