Fake news is not a policy issue, it’s an American culture issue
Instead of ridiculing or yelling at individuals who spout conspiracy theories, we need to talk with them, ask them what they believe and why, and encourage them to question their own beliefs.
The other day, I was watching the news and I saw a clip of Tucker Carlson claiming that the FBI was somehow behind the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Immediately, I laughed and made a joke about the ridiculousness of his statement.
But then I remembered the truth: fake news is no laughing matter and has serious consequences. From non-partisan government officials receiving death threats to a collapsing shared reality, fake news is not a joke.
Given how problematic fake news is, I wish I could spell out an exact fix. But I can’t. Perhaps restoring the FEC fairness doctrine, which required broadcasters to present both sides on an issue, would help stop the spread of fake news. But it probably wouldn’t solve the entire problem.
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In fact, I’m not sure any government policy can fix the issue of fake news because fake news is not a policy issue, it’s an American culture issue. And to fix such an issue, we have to start by talking to each other in a non-confrontational manner. Instead of ridiculing or yelling at individuals who spout conspiracy theories, we need to talk with them, ask them what they believe and why, and encourage them to question their own beliefs. I’m not saying this will be easy, but if we want any hope of fixing the problem of fake news, we have to try something.
Rosemary Wynnychenko, Winnetka
Arguments in government
In her June 28 column, Laura Washington says that the coverage of an argument between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Jeanette Taylor is an example of how Black women are belittled for arguing. Really? The argument between the mayor and the councilwoman got more than normal coverage because it broke up a council meeting, involved shouting and Taylor says that she was insulted.
Arguments in government happen all the time — between women, between men, between men and women — and they are a good thing, as long as the argument stays civil. It’s part of what keeps our democracy on track.
Then there are those like the muddle-headed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who at a recent Trump rally told a crowd that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was born in the Bronx, should go back where she came from, and called her a “little communist.” This from the woman who embarrassed even her Republican fellows in Congress by comparing COVID masks to the stars that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.
Rather than get into a heated argument, AOC chose not to lower herself to Greene’s level. Instead, she responded with a text that said, “First of all, I’m taller.”
Dan McGuire, Bensenville
Abusing the system
Tim Novak, Lauren FitzPatrick and Caroline Hurley did an excellent watchdog article in Sunday’s Sun-Times on the senior freeze tax program.
It bothers me, as it should all Cook County property owners, that the Cook County assessor’s office has not managed the senior freeze tax program efficiently — rather, not at all. The assessor’s office should verify income at the beginning of the application and on a regular basis. Assessor Fritz Kaegi says they don’t have enough staff to do this. Well, hire more people or, if they can’t handle it, then get rid of the much-abused program. It is not fair to other property owners who have to foot the bill for those who are abusing the system.
Mario Caruso, Lincoln Square