"You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
That line, from the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan, has been used often by politicians on both sides of the aisle. Vice President Mike Pence used a slight variation of it in the debate with now-Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
It’s a line worth considering in a time when one group or another’s “own facts” seem to permeate just about every conversation we have on important issues like the COVID-19 virus and the presidential election.
What some people consider to be “facts” in 2020 often stems from personal perspectives and choice of sources, not from verified numbers or science.
Moynahan was right. There is unlimited room for opinions. There’s none for anyone’s “own facts.”
I’ve been in the reporting and editing business for 45 years. Along the way, there have been plenty of people who had reason to criticize coverage, question reporting and point out errors.
News outlets, including this one, make mistakes or miss things. But any mistake we make is honest — the kind that over-busy, rushed, inexperienced (and yes, sometimes careless) people make. We don’t report or publish stories we know not to be correct.
The numbers we report each day on the COVID-19 are accurate, sourced from the CDC and state health departments,
Despite those solid sources, it’s become common to hear some people say or post on social media that they don’t believe the numbers or think the virus is all that serious.
There are many of the people not wearing masks or keeping a safe social distance.
I don’t get it. Do they think this pandemic has been made up? To what end, exactly?
COVID-19 is an insidious virus that has killed more than 243,000 Americans, including more than 9,200 Pennsylvanians.
Pennsylvania set yet another record on Friday, with 5,531 new cases. The daily number of cases right now grows by large numbers each day. So does the number of hospitalizations, with more than 2,200 patients now straining the resources of hospitals statewide.
There are no legitimate grounds for disbelieving these numbers.
As for the election, the vote counts show President-elect Joe Biden as the winner, nationally and here in Pennsylvania. There have been no proven problems or acts of fraud that would support President Trump’s argument that he is the winner.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed. Some have already been rejected.
Recounts have been put in motion, which is fine. But recounts just about never change the outcome of a race, and never have in a presidential race — not even in Florida in the much closer 2000 Bush-Gore race that concluded with the Supreme Court ending the recount and Bush winning by just 537 votes out of almost six million cast.
By the way, nobody seemed to have a problem with the Associated Press calling the 2016 race, or the many others that had come before, prior to the final vote counts being certified. And, if your “own facts” find the vote count fraudulent, aren’t Republican victories in the House, Senate and state legislature also fraudulent?
To sum up: There is a real, ongoing surge in the number of coronavirus cases that shows no signs of slowing down. And Joe Biden is the president-elect.
Those are the facts.
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