What's your "fact-checking" policy on letters to the editor?
Letters of this type are "political speech" and the statements made in them are given wide latitude. In politics, one mans "truth" is another man's "lie." Think of that classic optical illusion where an image looks like a white vase against a dark background -- but it also looks like two dark faces staring at one another across a white void. It's one image (fact) but it has two entirely different interpretations depending on how you look at it. The "truth" and the "lies" in the health care letter and the reader's objection to it are like that.
Our Opinion Page has the duty to give voice to people's varied views on important issues. That's why we print letters on both sides of any given argument. We don't censor a letter-writer's opinion or interpretation of a political "fact." We give readers credit for having the intelligence to sort out the many differing opinions and interpretations and to make up their own minds.
Fact-checking is reserved mainly for challenging the absurd, such as if a letter stated that Lorain was the capital of the United States, or if someone wrote in thanking the pope for visiting Amherst.
The big problem I had with the little letter that started this discussion is that somehow, a typo snuck into the first paragraph, "Get" came out "et" -- now, that's a journalistic sin. Mea culpa.