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Looking for impartiality 

We should arm ourselves with facts, not rhetoric

I read Stephen Siemsen's letter in the latest edition of New Times, "An open letter to the secretary of state" (Aug. 31).

His use of a quote he attributes to President Trump caught my eye. It seemed too outrageous not to have been covered by mainstream media, especially as media these days are driven by click-bait headlines and blatant toxic partisanship. If President Trump had said this, had dismissed the Constitution as "a waste of paper" and something he did "not support," surely I would have heard about it?

Curiosity took over.

So I did some research. It didn't take me long, a 10-second Google search and a quick call to a passionate local Republican, to discover that President Trump said no such thing. The quote Mr. Siemsen used to justify his demand "to disqualify Donald John Trump as a candidate for any local, state, or federal office, or to appear on any ballot anywhere within the state of California" was taken from the well-known parody/satire account known as The Borowitz Report, a regular feature in The New Yorker!

I am no supporter of President Trump, nor for that matter President Biden.

I am however a passionate advocate for the campaign against the politicization of media and the toxic partisanship that media bias creates in our communities.

We all make mistakes. We are all entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts. Mr. Siemsen may have many reasons why he believes President Trump is not fit for office. I may even agree with him on some. However, the biggest mistake of all is allowing cognitive dissonance to cloud our judgement and, if we are voters, to cloud our responsibility to democracy.

That is why we need curious, impartial editors who aspire to Bob Woodward's admonition that the media reliably acts "as the Fourth Estate," not as a propaganda machine for one party or another.

I trust that the New Times publisher and editorial team will print a prominent retraction, or at the very least The Shredder will show some editorial equity by holding Mr. Siemsen to account, just as he derides Moms For Liberty ("Something to the outcry," Aug. 31).

I also hope that the chief warrant officer (retd.) will honor his commitment to "defend the Constitution of the United States" by writing to the secretary of state to acknowledge his error and withdraw his petition.

As Alexander Pope wrote: "To err is human; to forgive, divine." We need some more of that in our political discourse! Δ

Clive Pinder, host of CeaseFire on KVEC 920AM/96.5FM Radio, writes to New Times from Templeton. Send a letter for publication to [email protected].

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Should Arroyo Grande use eminent domain to repair the Traffic Way bridge? 

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