In Mr. Balentine’s opinion piece from Feb. 10 (“Here’s Something: COVID lockdown story points to media’s failings”), he references a “newly released study overseen by an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University” and uses this study to continue to push the false claim that the lockdowns have been “next to useless.”

It is very important that all news media (including community papers like The Forecaster) ensure that both sides of an argument are presented. But you are doing a disservice to your readers by allowing inaccurate and cherry-picked information to be presented as truth. I would challenge you going forward to do a better job of fact-checking the information you are presenting to this community.

I would also challenge your readers to take a look at the article in Foreign Policy titled “Economists Are Fueling the War Against Public Health,” by Laurie Garrett. Garrett analyzes how this study was concluded and reports that it “has not been peer-reviewed or submitted for review to a major journal.” She also illustrates how death rates have been higher in those principalities that have had “very loose pandemic policies.”

I have been most proud of how Gov. Janet Mills and the majority of the people in Maine have rallied to safeguard each other by socially distancing, wearing masks and staying at home. These protective measures have resulted in Maine having the fifth-lowest death rate from coronavirus in the U.S., above Utah, Puerto Rico, Vermont and Hawaii, according to

By continuing to allow Mr. Balentine to use false narratives and to belittle and degrade the measures that have been proven to keep us safe, you are allowing two things: falsehoods to be understood as truth due to the fact the information is in a trusted source and continued division during a health crisis in which we all need to come together. I think you can do better.

Kim HilbrichCumberland