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posted: 8/21/2012 4:16 AM

Better fact-checking of letters needed

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Better fact-checking of letters needed

The Daily Herald too often prints letters to the editor about serious topics that are either factually incorrect or lack enough facts to reasonably support the writer's position.

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In one long letter the writer vehemently complained that only after getting a red-light camera ticket did he learn that by law you must stop your car after you have passed the line marking an intersection, not before the line. He was of course completely wrong. If other readers accepted his statement as fact they would soon be breaking the law and driving dangerously. (See Rules of the Road pdf Page 22 under the "Right of Way" section "If there is no stop line, stop before the crosswalk.")

Recently the Herald printed a letter in which the author stated "A search of information on the Web indicates there has been no meaningful global warming for the last 10 years -- even as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere continue to increase." Really? That's all the "facts" one needs to get a letter printed in the Herald about climate change? A search of the Internet? Really? Whatever you want to be true is supported somewhere by somebody on the Internet.

Climate change is an extremely important topic that is being hotly debated all over the world. Supporting an opinion with "A search of the Web" doesn't cut it.

The lack of fact checking has been an ongoing problem in the Daily Herald's Fence Post. Whether the topic is climate change, safe driving or any topic that might affect how readers think or act the Herald has a duty to make sure that the Fence Post is not a source of disinformation. We are all entitled to our own opinions and a reasonable interpretation of facts. We are not entitled to create our own facts.

Dennis Reynolds

Glen Ellyn

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