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Letters to the Editor: Misinformation is the biggest threat to Joe Biden’s presidency

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 10, 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 10, 2020.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Al Franken identifies what I think is the most important threat to our democracy — misinformation. (“Good luck, President-elect Biden. You’ll need it,” Opinion, Nov. 10)

Ever since the federal Fairness Doctrine was revoked during the Reagan administration, the airwaves have been a conduit for unchallenged lies and conspiracies. The internet poses an even bigger threat.

I am not a psychologist, but it seems to me that people can become addicted to these messages. Once you’ve bought into one conspiracy theory, it becomes easier to believe another. Thus it becomes self-reinforcing.

I don’t believe the election was necessarily based on voters’ opinions on policy, but rather on how the opposing sides were framed. Now, with the unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, many Republican leaders are supportive of conspiracy theories or just silent about them, and silence is complicity.

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The new administration will need to vigorously address this in order to begin to bring America together.

Wayne Morgan, Ventura

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To the editor: Franken notes that many of us were shocked and depressed by how close the election was. This was exactly why I did not rush out the door after the election was called for Joe Biden, screaming, “We won!”

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That there are so many people in our country who voted for President Trump, notwithstanding his crass behavior and denigration of large numbers of constituents, is a realization that fills me with alarm.

Four years of the Biden presidency may not be enough to undo the ideological divide that plagues us, especially since the president-elect will probably be constrained by a continued Republican majority in the Senate.

I fear that Trumpism will triumph again in 2024. I hope I am wrong.

Anneke Mendiola, Santa Ana

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To the editor: Franken’s op-ed article was puzzling. I do not understand why he went into a rant on Rush Limbaugh, a radio personality who has terminal cancer.

At the end of the piece you note that Franken is an author, comedian and former Minnesota senator. You fail to mention that Franken was also a radio show host. His “O’ Franken Factor” was the flagship program when the liberal radio network Air America launched in 2004.

Less than six years later, Air America went bankrupt and shut down. This was shorter than Franken’s Senate career, which lasted from 2009 until his resignation in 2018 because of sexual misconduct allegations.

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Is Franken jealous of others’ success?

Mark Powell, Westminster

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To the editor: Franken got it right: Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, and expand it to online platforms with algorithm-based news feeds.

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Chris Pearson, Spring Valley, Calif.


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