People are talking about the N&R opinion page. They are not saying good things. On Facebook, the paper's former top editor (and before that, opinion editor) mocks his old employer's standards for LTE. There's a pile-on in the comments. [John Robinson, via FB, re his comment ("Next up, a letter explaining that ghosts are scientific fact"): "I don't mock the paper's standards. I do question them in that case. That's different than mocking them."]
Another former editor posts at his blog under the headline, "Letters to the editor: Now the News & Record is just trolling us." That's preferable to the theory I floated a couple of weeks ago: They just don't care.
Oddly silent are the folks on Market Street. Sure, their actions speak volumes: The N&R will publish letters containing factual errors obvious to a clever ten-year-old. It's policy. But why?
Maybe their take on free speech enshrines a right to spew misinformation in a newspaper, because, Opinion! Maybe they don't have enough people left to monitor letters for content, or enough readers left to fill the page with non-fiction. We don't know.
There's a conversation out here among their readers, but the editors are not participating. It's a pre-internet approach to journalism.
I guess we could write a letter to the editor.
Seriously, my draft is below. If you want to sign it, leave your real name in the comments.
To the editors:
Expressing an opinion is a right. Having an opinion published in the newspaper is not a right. The News & Record should not publish letters that contain clear misstatements of fact.
One recent letter to the editor said Women's Hospital might close in October. This is not true. Women's Hospital might close in 2019. Saying otherwise is not an opinion, it's a fallacy. It is reckless for the N&R to publish that kind of misinformation.
An even more recent letter stated that scientists now have evidence that dinosaurs lived several thousand years ago. This is not true. It should not be printed without commentary in a serious newspaper.
Maybe the editors can explain their policy and the reasons for it in a note or editorial.
[your name here]