To the editor:

I applaud this newspaper for being courageous enough to print a full-page paid ad in the Sept. 17 issue, in which retired Major Eric C. Rivers summarized a number of widespread and controversial narratives about the origins of the COVID virus, the value of masks, political propaganda about vaccines and the validity of repurposed anti-parasitic drugs that may or may not have value in the prevention or treatment of COVID infections. I don’t have to agree with any or all of his opinions to appreciate a newspaper that offers alternate points of view and defends that action, even in the face of complaints from the public, like the letter writer in the Sept. 24 edition who referred to the major’s opinions as “conspiracy theories, lies, falsehoods” and “misinformation.”

The point I want to emphasize is that across national media today, statements like the major's are the focus of big-tech social media censorship and banning because they do not agree with widely accepted narratives that are the only ones approved by the current Washington administration and by popular media outlets that tend to support the Biden administration.

But what constitutes misinformation, and who should define "the truth"? There can be no consensus on this except through a vigorous and robust exchange of alternative opinions, interpretations and research laid out in public media.

Hiding conflicting viewpoints from the public allegedly for its “protection” has always been the justification of those in power to establish dictatorial policies that suppress dissent and punish free thought. These actions are always divisive and never a force for unity. There is a reason that in the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech was placed in the First Amendment. This newspaper acted properly and ethically.

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Bonnie Beresford

Alexandria, MN