In a response to my letter about the Oregon GOP's position on capping carbon emissions, Jay Burreson questions where I get my information about the Republican Party's views. I think Mr. Burreson is entirely right to be skeptical. Too frequently we see letters to the editor declaring overtly false notions and speculation as fact, contributing to the fragility of discourse Mike McInally discussed in his March 31 editorial.
For Mr. Burreson's edification, the statements I quoted came directly from tweets posted by the Oregon House Republicans (@OregonHouseGOP), and from Republican Representative Shelly Boshart Davis's newsletter - Rep. Boshart Davis was appointed to the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction by the Republican caucus. I provided these sources to Mr. McInally when I submitted my letter.
Nonetheless, the frequent publication of obvious falsehoods in this section of the paper leads to the kind of skepticism Mr. Burreson expressed. How was he to know these were real quotes and not lifted from disreputable parts of the internet like some of what we see on this page? Perpetuating disinformation impedes the exchange of legitimate ideas, exacerbates division, and degrades the Gazette-Times imprimatur. It's unfortunate that "obviously untrue" and "wild speculation presented as fact" didn't make it into Mr. McInally's general rules for rejecting letters. As Mr. McInally wrote in an editorial a year ago (April 8, 2018), "factual news is essential to the communities we serve.” I hope he decides that factual letters are too.
Corvallis (April 3)