LETTER: Opinions are not news
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Park Rapids Enterprise by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Park Rapids Enterprise. To submit a letter, email email@example.com or mail it to Park Rapids Enterprise, 203 Henrietta Ave. N., Park Rapids, MN 56470.
I was pleased to see that the Enterprise published a correction to the article about disgruntled nurses who do not want to be vaccinated. However, that correction can only be found in the digital edition and did not appear in the printed paper. Good editorial practice demands that it be printed on the front page of a subsequent print edition.
The original article presented opinion and disinformation as news. It had no place on the front page of “the official paper of Hubbard County.” It focused on the opinions of a few unreliable people and was filled with false claims. The nurses quoted have a right to their opinions, but those opinions are not news and cannot be presented as fact in the lead article on the front page. The writer made no attempt to present the actual facts, nor to counter the misinformation. The nurses quoted also implied that hospital staff in general shared their opinions, but the writer made no attempt to verify that claim.
The short paragraph at the end of the original article made it clear that CHI St. Joseph’s is concerned that unvaccinated staff present a health risk to both patients and their fellow employees. But the hospital’s communications director did not address the misinformation in the body of the article.
The Enterprise owes its readers the facts presented in a widely available correction.
Editor’s note: The Enterprise’s correction ran in the Saturday, Sept. 11 print edition on page 2, along with a front-page, follow-up article addressing COVID-19 vaccine myths. CHI St. Joseph’s Health also responded in the Sept. 11 edition in “Hospital has responsibility to protect the public” because they did not have the opportunity in the Sept. 4 article.