Letter came across as personal attack on editor

To the editor:

Letter to the editor in response to letter of July 3 from Mr. John Frerich.

Mr. Frerich, I have read your letter numerous times and I cannot understand where you are coming from or what exactly your intentions were.

Were you angry when you wrote it? Were you just overconfident of your thoughts and sent it off without rereading it and trying to anticipate how others may interpret it?

Was the intent to chastise Mr. Lamb, or to intimidate him so that he is reluctant to offer his opinions, or to reprimand him on how he is handling his role as editor?

The letter was very personal in its attacks. You did not just disagree on his point of view but used the words “blatant lie,” suggested that possibly he cannot be trusted as editor and even brought up the point that he was “new,” What does the latter point have to do with your disapproval of his opinion?

Was it to undermine his credibility with readers? The tone of your letter was in my opinion, similar to what we can now expect from President Trump when he goes after those he disagrees with.

I think most people in southwest Minnesota want civil and polite discussions. I think many readers would find your choice of words offensive. So much for the tone of your letter, now let’s move on to the substance.

First of all, the comments you object to were clearly in the editorial section, not the news. From the time Ben Franklin, in 1722 at 16 years of age, started writing letters of opinions under the pen name of Silence Dogood and submitted them to the New England Courant (published by his brother James), the printed press has always had news and editorials in their issues.

Mr. Lamb was unmistakably offering an opinion and as such was free to phrase his point of view with words of his choice. He does not have that freedom when it comes to the “news” section. Whether it be the New York Times which has a liberal slant to their editorials or the Wall Street Journal which has a conservative slant editorially, their news divisions are separate and have different editors and different staff and do not work together or coordinate their efforts.

In a small newspaper such as the Independent one person wears both hats. While we may not agree with what they write on the opinion page it does not bring into question their honesty in reporting the news. Mr. Lamb did not blatantly lie, did not grossly distort the facts, nor is it now or has it ever been the norm for the press to do so in their news.

It would help readers if you would identify your news source. According to the Wall Street Journal news article of June 27, which has three reporters listed on the byline, they cite the CBO/Joint Committee on Taxation report as follows. Regarding the 21 million people that would become uninsured under the Republican Senate plan: it will be due to cuts in Medicaid, the end of the penalty for those that do not want to be part of the individual mandate coverage (which you cite as the primary reason), and the reduction in subsidies to low income individuals.

They cite the statistic that 15 million of the uninsured or 71 percent would come from Medicaid cuts. Now if we take that and add in the drop in low income individuals, whatever that number is, it is obvious that your assertion for the primary drop in the uninsured is probably incorrect.

Now whether these people are disqualified, no longer eligible, can no longer afford to participate, or however you describe it, they will disappear from the ranks of the insured.

Mr. Lamb’s choice of the words “kicked off” makes a point that most readers understand. On a scale of accuracy and truthfulness I feel his basic point is more reflective of the reality than your assertion. Nonetheless, you both can offer opinions but you have no basis for saying that his opinion was a blatant lie or that it in any way reflects on the honesty of news stories printed in the Independent nor are there any reasons to doubt or question his integrity as an editor.

Your letter opens up a host of other topics which I would love to challenge. Namely: the coercion of individuals (the individual mandate was an idea formulated in 1989 by the Heritage Foundation, (a conservative think tank advising Republicans on public policy issues of the day), why the Affordable Health Care is struggling (and it is not because of reasons given by conservatives), the honesty of the major media as compared to talk radio, the many cable programs that blur news and opinions in sometimes seamless fashion, and internet blogs and news sites.

Those are all subjects for other discussions. As a disclaimer it should be said that I do not know Mr. Lamb.

Arlen Knott

Walnut Grove