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The Snoop 11.21.2013

It is never the intention of the Douglas County Herald to publish information that is inaccurate or blatantly untrue. However, we also want to give our readers an opportunity to express their opinions – even if we don’t always agree with them – through letters to the editor.
On occasion, we have refused to run items submitted to us because the information provided was known to be inaccurate or could not be verified. At other times we have published letters to the editor – always signed by the writer – because the individual was expressing an opinion.  More than once we have been challenged (or chastised) because other readers did not agree with the individual or had valid reason to show the writer’s information was incorrect.
“The Snoop” is sharing portions of two letters received this week. They are in “The Snoop” rather than under the heading of “Letters” because they:  1) are directed to the editor personally as well as to the writer; and 2) because both letters not only challenge the accuracy of facts stated by the writer, but also challenge the integrity this newspaper and the editor for publishing the aforementioned letter.
The first signed letter comes from Tim and Jeanne Scrivner, of Ava:
“Our question of the week is, ‘Should Editors be responsible for checking the facts of what is published in their paper regardless of which section of the paper it appears in?
“Ms. Boeddecker-Genet in her various letters to the editor does an admirable job of expressing her opinion on the many ‘flaws’ with our country, but she goes on to make statements presented as fact that have been completely debunked by reputable sources.  For example, even the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) states on its website that the rumors concerning ties of George Soros to Cerberus Capital Management and The Freedom Group are ‘completely false and baseless.’ Her statements concerning the status of the President’s and First Lady’s law credentials are equally false and baseless being thoroughly debunked by Snopes. Furthermore, much of Ms. Boeddecker-Genet’s commentary seems to be lifted nearly verbatim from old or current e-mails circulating on the internet.
It is also important to note that the ‘report’ attributed to Burt Prelutsky of the LA times was not a report, which is a statement of facts, but from an opinion column in which his quote from Dianne Feinstein was ‘a highly exaggerated paraphrase of her remarks’ according to Snopes.  Ms. Feinstein’s exact words spoken in a discussion of the assault weapons ban can be found in the Snopes article.
“In our opinion, letters with such blatant untruths at least should be edited to delete such inaccuracies or a disclaimer made to warn readers that these ‘facts’ have not been verified.  We realize that in the unmonitored free-for-all of the internet untruths are common, but we would expect better in our newspaper.”
A second response came as an e-mail, and is similar to the first and shows evidence that the writers may have discussed the content. Since the comments below were received in the form of an e-mail and, thus, unsigned, the name of the writer is not being given. Nevertheless, you will get the message, as I did.
“Ms. Boeddecker-Genet’s tirade would be laughable, if it were not so full of blatant outrageous error. To present her opinions as ‘facts’ might be her way of trying to seem intelligently informed. More often, she merely parrots the latest circulated politically slanted e-mails, as she might with a chain letter.
“Bad enough her article even appeared in the paper at all, but I was disappointed to know that our editor would publish it without first checking her allegations. False rumors are given life when a person in a responsible position allows lies to go unchecked. Too many people are misguided and wrongly influenced when politics trump authentic journalism.
“Please, The Herald can do better than this. It’s not that hard to do a fact-find with today’s technology. Try the Internet, Keith!”
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With the holiday season coming up I’m going to give my backside a chance to heal. In the meantime, I reiterate: letters are published as the opinion of the writer. That’s why we require a signature. We still appreciate letters from our readers, but we do ask that you base your opinion on fact and not hearsay.