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OUR VIEW: Think, and vote

Election Day is right around the corner and the future of our cities, school districts, states and country will soon be determined by millions of voters across the United States.

We hope those voters will cast an educated, thoughtful vote on Tuesday.

Locally, we’d like to think we’ve helped with informing voters. For the past three weeks, Pine Journal readers have gotten a bonus “Election 2016” section inside their papers. On Oct. 6, the section included candidate profiles for state legislature and county candidates. The following week’s section focused on candidates for city council and mayor around Carlton County, and the Oct. 27 section was all about school board candidates and the Carlton operational levy referendum. If you missed any of those sections, they are available for purchase at the Pine Journal. We also plan to post those profiles online at www.pinejournal.com by Friday morning.

Parnell Thill’s coverage of the candidate forum on Oct 20 offered additional insights into the local candidates, as they debated a wider range of issues at the forum sponsored by the Cloquet Area Chamber of Commerce and media partners CAT-7, WKLK radio and the Pine Journal. CAT-7 will show footage of the forum up to Election Day on the cable access channel and on YouTube, plus the story is posted on our website for those who have been blessedly oblivious for the past few weeks. Readers also offered their own letters to the editor.

Of course, regular readers of the Pine Journal should already have a good idea of what they think about many of the incumbents, because they’ve been part of various meeting and issue stories over the past four years.

We confess, we have done nothing to help local readers figure out any presidential candidates, as our mission really does focus on local — and at the most, regional — coverage.

But here’s a tip for anyone with access to the internet.

You don’t have to go to the candidates’ websites to fact check.

We love the PolitiFact website (www.politifact.com) a fact-checking website run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times. PolitiFact rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others who speak up in American politics. They do this all the time, but especially during election season. Ratings range from True, to Mostly True, to Half True, Mostly False, False and Pants On Fire (ridiculous!).

PolitiFact does its best to make learning the truth about this election a palatable process. I’d encourage you to try.

Legitimate newspapers, of course, fact check their own stories. And we are unaware of any intended bias contained in any of the major Minnesota newspapers, although some people who don’t like what they read may insist that isn’t true.

We beg to differ.

And we beg you, gentle readers, to keep reading and thinking and participating in our democracy, even if you are sick and tired of all the nastiness.

 

~ Jana Peterson

 

P.S. You may have noticed there are no election-related letters to the editor in this week’s Pine Journal. While readers would know that we posted notice three times in October that no political letters would be published in the final issue of the Pine Journal before the election, because we needed time to correct any errors before the election. You can, however, read letters that came in after last week’s deadline on our website.

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