Editor’s Note: Last Call for Political Letters, and Another Thing …

It’s only a couple weeks until the midterm election, Nov. 8, and so it’s time for a reminder about the deadlines for the Letters to the Editor page.

We do not publish political letters in the issue immediately prior to an election. That means if you want to write a letter about the Democratic or Republican parties, or any of the candidates, or any aspect of the political world, your deadline is noon, Monday, Oct. 24.

There are no exceptions.

While I’m talking about letters, I thought I’d also take the opportunity to mention something about letters that contain facts and figures. We receive a lot of those. In all cases, the writer must send links to a primary source for the information. I’m the only fact-checker here, and I don’t have time to search for information from letter writers inclined to “report” or use quotes. Plus, the letters are supposed to be opinion anyway. 

Nevertheless, I need to be able to verify the non-opinions without searching for the information. 

Another thing while I’m on the topic. I’ve had conversations with a few of you trying to explain that facts and figures don’t sway opinions. That’s my anecdotal experience, gathered over almost two decades, talking to many, reading the opinions of many, covering many. Then I attended a Climate Change Coalition speaker event and received validation from a professional on the fascinating topic of effective communication. 

Dominique Brossard, who spoke at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor Sept. 13, is a professor and the chair of UW-Madison’s Life Sciences Communications Department. Early in her lecture, she talked about “The Myth of More Information.” She then proceeded to authenticate my experience when she said, “We don’t use information for beliefs; things just connect.”

There was a lot more to it than that. I’m conveying only the essence. We use information to formulate beliefs, but that happens early in life as we’re creating our road map. Once a map is drawn, very few people want to change it or start another – and I’d bet they’re certainly not going to be inspired to do so by a fact in a letter to the editor.

In short: This is a last call for political letters and an ongoing call for source information to accompany non-opinion letters.