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Misleading language disheartening

February 1, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

As I read your Monday, Jan. 30 issue of The Journal, I didn't expect to find what seemed to be either a blatant attempt to mislead the public or simply genuine misconception in my hometown paper. Your "Our View" section on natural gas and MIT's alleged "liberal extremism" was incredibly disheartening.

First, your decision to refer to people as "the global warming crowd," immediately shows your misunderstanding. The "global warming crowd" you are referring to are some of America's best and brightest scientists and mathematicians. These people are much more qualified and have devoted years of study to the climate situation.

This study is legitimately separate from politics, no matter how much it scares you.

Sometimes we have to face things that scare us, and address how we should act. Historically, Americans have been great at this. We faced many wars, we faced the Great Depression, we faced the Soviet Union, we faced an industrializing world. We met our challenges and we sacrificed to be the best, to do our best. Why is this issue different?

Maybe this isn't the work of "extremist liberals" trying to "attack" the coal and natural gas industry and the American economy. Maybe these aren't politicians, trying to cater the scientific results to best suit the economy and the desires of the American people. Maybe the researchers at MIT are just some of the worlds' best scientists, delivering scientific, apolitical data because that is their job. You can't use politics to deny their truth. You can't simply discredit years of detailed research and thought by calling them "liberal extremists." Until the editors of The Journal conduct or find their own highly complex studies of natural gas, they cannot in good conscience tell the public that this is some kind of "extremist agenda." That shows a frightening lack of journalistic integrity.

As a student of history and journalism, I ask those of you at The Journal to be more careful with what you say. Your words influence the people of our lovely town. The lack of facts behind your name-calling of "extremist" and presentation of scientific study as somehow untrue, is powerful. After studying sub-Saharan African conflict and WWII in depth, the word "extremist" holds a lot more weight. When you use words to separate people out and demonize them, you are on a slippery slope. The researchers at MIT are your fellow Americans, they aren't trying to ruin you. In my history books, I read it time and again. When people become riddled with fear of another group in their society, horrific things ensue. I ask you to be careful with your rhetoric, because as journalists I'm sure you appreciate that words can have great power.

Caity Anderson

New Ulm

 
 

 

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