Advertisement full of false statements

As I scrolled through my online version of the Altoona Mirror last Saturday morning, enjoying the local football highlights and catching up on local and national news, I came across a very disturbing full page ad.

It stopped me in my tracks.

This full-page ad by Dean Esper Jr. was shocking. I am a believer of freedom of the press and free speech, but I also believe that the press has a responsibility to not knowingly print false and malicious statements intended to incite panic and fear, which is the definition of slander.

Furthermore, I would think that the Mirror would use the guideline that “Knowingly false statements of fact are often constitutionally unprotected.”

Esper’s ad fell under both the categories of knowingly false statements of “fact.”

I hope in the future, the Mirror will consider not giving space in its paper to fear-mongering, panic-false statements.

Robyn Conner



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