At the request of Mayor Rich Tran, The Milpitas Beat has double-verified the author and factual content of its most recent Letter to the Editor, published here earlier today. Following direct communication with The Beat’s Rhoda Shapiro, Mayor Tran wrote in a Facebook post: “I have called on the Milpitas Beat to verify their published material. Our ceremony recognized all veterans with the respective military branch songs. All veterans had an opportunity to stand to be recognized, which we did. This is not good for the Milpitas Beat to be publishing hate.”
Specifically, The Milpitas Beat has verified that the letter’s author, Jim Arthur, is a real individual living in Milpitas, and that the letter was not a hoax or an act of trolling. In addition, after reviewing audio from yesterday’s Memorial Day ceremony outside City Hall, The Milpitas Beat has verified that although Mayor Tran specifically cited veterans from the Vietnam and Korean Wars during his speech, he did not mention veterans from World War II, which was the author of the letter’s central complaint.
Note: The Milpitas Beat always properly verifies the factual content of all its articles, be they news reporting, Letters, or Opinion pieces. However, Letters to the Editor and Opinion-Editorials published by The Milpitas Beat do not reflect the positions of this newspaper on the whole.
Further: News reporting calls upon different methods from those used in Letter or Opinion writing. The reporter’s method seeks to capture facts and deliver information. The Letter or Opinion writer rises to a different standard, in pursuit of subjective, personal truths rather than objective facts (which is not to say that the Letter or Opinion writer bears a right to distort or invent facts). Due to their informal nature, Letters and Opinions can inspire strong feelings, but given their ability to stimulate reflection and discussion (even if that discussion is hinged on disagreement), they are a vital component of providing news in a democracy.
We invite all our readers, from public officials to private citizens, to double-check all the facts we publish, and to immediately alert us to any factual errors in our publication — it being noted, however, that opinions themselves, be they in Letters to the Editor or Opinion-Editorials, can never be wrong. By that standard, even Mayor Tran’s opinion that we’ve published “hate,” while not an assertion that we agree with, is one which he is entitled to express.