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Ask Me Anything (Not) 

Poisoned Pen, Claims to Fame

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Ask Me Anything (Not)
Take a wild guess here: What do you suppose the religious affiliation of Utah's GOP candidates for governor might be? Indeed, every single one is a member of the formidably named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, according to a candidate questionnaire published in The Salt Lake Tribune, only the two Democratic candidates even waffled a little from it. One said he believes in the separation of church and state, and the other felt he had to explain that his mother is Mormon but his father isn't. While religion often plays a part in elections, the issue usually comes from opposing parties when they question if a candidate can govern independently. That happened in the John F. Kennedy election, and of course, in the #fakenews that Barack Obama was Muslim. The Trib made an error in judgment asking this question, but then religion is what the GOP is all about. Just ask Sen. Mike Lee who wants to make sure faith-based entities get part of the coronavirus relief package. Too bad small businesses can't tithe.

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Poisoned Pen
Ethan Chandler got a letter to editor printed in both daily newspapers. And to look at the letters, you'd think he and his cohorts have the "facts," and we should dismiss all the hype over COVID-19. So, here's a question for newspaper editors: Would you allow letters from gun-rights advocates saying that the numbers are clear—only 36,000 people are killed by gun violence each year, so Americans have a right to shoot anyone they please? There may be a debate going on about how serious COVID-19 is, but the scientific facts are clear. These alternative facts, which the Washington Post discovered come from a "trio of far-right, pro-gun provocateurs," sparked outrage and protests in Utah and across the nation. This me-me-me generation of free-thinkers demand an opening of the economy because they don't care if they get the virus. Esquire put it eloquently: "This is less AstroTurf than it is a spreading poisonous kudzu fed by the toxic sludge that has flowed under the conservative movement for decades." Protesters apparently don't care if you get it, because they've been hearing the wildly inaccurate mantra that it's just as deadly as the flu. Newspapers usually state that they have the right to vet their letters to the editor for dangerous inaccuracies. None of the constitutional amendments come without some restriction. But first, the papers will have to acknowledge that science is right—and Ethan Chandler is wrong.

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Claims to Fame
Thumbs up to the commenter on The Salt Lake Tribune site who drew our attention to Eric Moutsos, the organizer of Utah protests to re-open everything. Moutsos has since gained national notoriety, appearing in USA Today, the nightly newscasts, NPR, The New York Times and more. But no Utah outlet saw fit to bring up his background. NPR even called him "a former police officer who now works in solar energy in Utah." His claim to fame came from anti-gay and anti-LDS rantings on social media, detaining gay men for kissing in public and, of course, being a religious-rights activist.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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