Editorial reply: Falkowski fact check

By Benjamin J. Gohs, Editor
Here are a few of the most obvious exaggerations or outright falsehoods which appeared in Chet Falkwoski’s letter to the editor (see his letter here) from the May 27 edition of Boyne City Gazette:
1. There is no evidence coronavirus was created in a Chinese lab. (Washington Post 4/30/20, FOX News 4/16/20, WebMD 3/18/20, LA Times 5/9/20, Science Magazine 2/19/20)

2. There is no evidence this coronavirus, just like every other naturally occurring coronavirus, is man-made. (Medical News Today 3/20/20)

3. “Most American universities” are not taking orders from the Chinese government. Perhaps Falkowski refers to the 2018 Inside Higher Ed article stating Chinese interests have purchased a few American colleges in recent years but this is not a significant number and nor does it mean most or any American universities are “taking orders from their Chinese Communist Party pimps.”

4. Claim that major media outlets are controlled by the Chinese government? After some searching, it was clear that not only were there no legitimate sources claiming this, but even the usual propaganda sources and conspiracy theory sources had bupkis as well.
Though, a particularly motivated individual will just claim that dearth of stories on the matter is proof positive of Chinese control.

5. What “state and federal elected officials” are the Chinese allegedly targeting? Your claim of “various” is not an answer. It is obfuscation in lieu of fact. Making claims like this is irresponsible and dangerous.
The world has enough incitement. It doesn’t need any more.

6. No Chinese spy was planted in Feinstein’s office. According to the FBI, there was an attempt to recruit her driver. Feinstein was notified of the attempt and the individual was removed from their position.
To pretend “attempted recruiting” and “planted spy” are the same thing is disingenuous at best.
(https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/feinstein-chinese-spy/)

7. You claim the Chinese government engages in communist plots by not only creating coronavirus in a lab before unleashing it onto the world, but also controlling American companies, colleges, governmental operations, and sports entertainment.
What part of the headline “C-19 a communist plot?” doesn’t fit your narrative? If your own words make you uncomfortable, then perhaps you should revisit them.
Here’s a tip: don’t want to be dismissed or condescended to? Stop regurgitating fringe talking points.
Not everyone will just smile and nod at such inanity.
The truth is there are plenty of valid reasons to criticize the Chinese government. But there’s no valid reason to make things up or pass along misinformation.
The truth is that Falkowski’s original letter to the editor should not have run in Boyne City Gazette because it contained too much misinformation.
The truth is the editor was too busy to fact-check it and too tired to field an angry phone call from a reader demanding to know why their letter did not appear.
I apologize for this lapse and promise to do better in the future.
Boyne City Gazette readers have come to demand and deserve information as close to the God’s honest truth as we can possibly get.
Sure, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes over the past 11 years … but never misinformed anyone on purpose.
Mr. Falkowski is right about one thing—he is entitled to his opinion.
However, he’s not entitled to spread propaganda-as-fact and then play aw-shucks when someone calls him on it.
Like Daniel Patrick Moynihan is credited as saying: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”
Boyne City Gazette has never received so much as a penny from the Chinese government, though some of our readers do bake us cookies, and therefore we reserve the right to label questionable information for the betterment of our readers.
Sincerely,
Benjamin J. Gohs, Editor
(Also not a Chinese spy)

 

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