Letters with debunked claims should not have been printed

I was appalled and dismayed to see two letters—one by Sandra Bouchard and one by Jane Ryan Carrell—in the “Public Forum” section of the Jan. 13 issue of the Beloit Daily News. Both letters made wild claims that have been roundly debunked by all credible news operations.

Ms. Bouchard wrote, “Trumpers did not riot at the Capitol. Those were posers and from phillyantifa.org.” She also wrote, “Millions of ballots were shredded, destroyed, and thrown out in dumpsters.”

Ms. Carrell wrote, “The evidence of the fraud is ubiquitous and convincing.” She also wrote, “If the outright evidence of fraud will be ignored, and Biden is seated as president, America will have joined the ranks of Banana republics. How can this stand?”

I assume a letter must meet certain standards before the BDN will allow that letter to be published in the “Public Forum” section. I urge the BDN to revisit its standards. Individuals are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. I do not expect a small newspaper to meticulously fact-check every letter to the editor. Nevertheless, a responsible newspaper should refuse to publish letters that contain obvious falsehoods and thoroughly discredited claims that are intended to make people angry and mobilize them for action against a democratically elected government.

Ms. Bouchard and Ms. Carrell absolutely have a right to express themselves, but your newspaper has no obligation—legal or moral—to give them a platform, much less a megaphone, for spreading baseless rumors and outright lies. We have seen the harm—physical and emotional harm—that comes from allowing extremists to spread their conspiracy theories.

Please don’t enable them.