The Age of Disinformation

Dear Editor:

Trust in facts is a cornerstone of American democracy. Disinformation and distrust of the media have been major contributors to our socially, politically and economically polarized society. If we are going to bridge divides and collectively address major issues affecting our nation and the world, we must be able to work from a foundation of facts. Consumers rely on news and social media information more than ever—and they need to be able to trust it.

Several promising initiatives are underway. Adobe, for example, has created a way to embed identifying data to content so photos and articles can be traced for manipulation and authenticated. Public-private partnerships to develop comprehensive media literacy education programs are a must. Providing learners at the earliest age with tools and knowledge to discern facts and truth, differentiate between news and opinion and check multiple sources are fundamental building blocks to combat the scourge of fake and misleading information online.

Success will require industry-driven initiatives and the cooperation of state and federal government agencies to help restore trust in and to protect online content.

There is no easy fix. What is clear is that we must act now. The future of our democracy depends upon it.

Jeff Joseph President, Software & Information Industry Association Washington, D.C.

Vaccine refuseniks

Dear Editor:

Vaccine refusers assert an almost nihilistic disregard of society, law, common sense, professional and parental advice, social compromise, and economic sensibility. Their views appear to result from and to increase the overall prevalence of delusion, disillusionment, fear, and anxiety.

The refusers are surely responsible for unnecessary, ongoing waves of disease and death. They cause disruption in travel, school, work, culture, and environment. Their actions negatively affect community safety, food availability and distribution, housing security, and business operation.

They contribute indirectly but inordinately to homelessness, predatory lending and debt dependence, crime and abuse, medical scams, privacy misunderstandings, human confinement measures, political factiousness, and distrust in hallowed institutions.

Refusenik attitudes and militant stances subvert marriages, families, friendships, workforces, customer bases, and neighborhoods. The anti-vaxxers rip the American flag to shreds, for the sake of their ignorant and defiant individualism.

Their philosophy is a religion without a God, a rebellion without a cause, and a fight without honor. They either unwittingly or openly reject democracy and welcome a populist demagoguery that leads either to anarchy or autocracy.

Please get the shot, people.

Kimball Shinkoskey City Woods Cross, Utah

About preventing suicide

Dear Editor:

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is a time for each of us to reach out to those around us and take steps to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s theme for the month is “Together, we can help #StopSuicide.”

Talking about suicide is important to me because I lost my brother to suicide. If I can help prevent one person from making that decision I consider that a success.

One action I’m taking this month to help #StopSuicide is contacting my public officials and urging them to prioritize funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and our local crisis call centers. In July 2022, the new 988 number will be fully operational as the universal phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

This easy-to-remember three-digit number will increase access to vital mental health and suicide crisis supports. Calls are also projected to increase substantially when the 988 number goes fully live. NOW is the time to provide the funding to support our local crisis centers to meet the needs of more 988 callers.

Together, we can ensure that everyone in crisis has access to care should they need it.

Together, we can help #StopSuicide.


Jarrod Steinmetz Guilford, IN

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