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From the Editor: Opinion page open to all opinions

"We wouldn’t publish a letter saying climate change isn’t real, for example, as such a statement is inaccurate. We will, however, publish — and we do routinely — letters with which we disagree, even strongly disagree."

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I get it, and the blowback certainly was expected.

How could the News Tribune publish a letter to the editor calling for an end to COVID-19 vaccinations? “I say remove masks and let the virus die on its own,” read the Jan. 15 letter .

I assure you the decision to publish the letter wasn’t made lightly. Editorial board members had spirited discussions. The letter, thoroughly fact-checked, was rejected at least once and sent back to the writer. Only after debunked and inaccurate claims were removed was the letter considered. The News Tribune will never knowingly publish information that is false.

The final iteration of the letter was the writer’s opinion, the way she sees things and her thoughts about what needs to happen next. Granted, hers is quite different from how many see the situation with the pandemic and feel it needs to be addressed. The opinion is unmistakably unpopular.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t without value. For those who disagree, the insights into a countering argument can be informative and educational. A different way of looking at anything can be important.

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The News Tribune Opinion page remains committed to providing a forum for all viewpoints, especially if they’re just that: viewpoints — and not misinformation, disinformation, or outright inaccuracies. We wouldn’t publish a letter saying climate change isn’t real, for example, as such a statement is inaccurate. We will, however, publish — and we do routinely — letters with which we disagree, even strongly disagree.

In response to the Jan. 15 letter, phone calls were angry and emails expressed bewilderment. Letters written in response have already begun to be published, including those critical of the newspaper’s decision. Those, too, are legitimate opinions to be considered by all.

To join the conversation on this topic or others, submissions can be directed to letters@duluthnews.com . I look forward to hearing from you.

Chuck Frederick is the News Tribune's editorial page editor. He can be reached at cfrederick@duluthnews.com or 218-723-5316.

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