Story on vaccine mandate protest needed context

Submitted by Collin Bennion
Posted 9/30/21

Dear Editor:

I was born and raised in Powell, visit often, and still enjoy reading the Tribune to stay connected to my roots. It’s a great paper — especially for a community of this …

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Story on vaccine mandate protest needed context

Posted

Dear Editor:

I was born and raised in Powell, visit often, and still enjoy reading the Tribune to stay connected to my roots. It’s a great paper — especially for a community of this size. Unfortunately, I thought the article titled “Stand Strong” from the Sept. 23 issue was irresponsibly reported.

I do not question your judgment about whether the event being covered was newsworthy. Elected state officials urging a crowd of people to not get a life-saving vaccine certainly seems deserving of coverage. What I take issue with is the lack of context. 

Dangerous conspiracy theories probably don’t deserve space in the paper at all, but to the extent that you felt it was important to the narrative, they should have been followed by verifiable facts. Doctors aren’t murdering patients in an elaborate scheme with the federal government to pay hospitals more money.

If you feel the need to quote people who say that’s happening, you owe it to your readers to inform them that it’s a baseless conspiracy theory. To do so is not editorializing, it’s stating a fact — one of the most basic duties of any news organization.

To state another fact, COVID-19 has killed 43 people in Park County, nearly 1,000 people in Wyoming and almost 700,000 people nationwide. As deaths keep mounting, there’s a free, safe and effective vaccine available that can prevent almost all of them.

Please don’t allow your usually excellent paper to become a platform for the kind of dangerous misinformation that’s stretching hospitals in the area to the breaking point and causing people to die needlessly.

Sincerely,

Collin Bennion

New York, New York

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