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Monday, January 30, 2023

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Impact of Instagram on Mental Health

Dear Editor:

As the father of three teenagers, I worry about the impact of Instagram and Facebook on mental health and how we all balance our social media use. Recent revelations made public through our work with Whistleblower Aid validate the concerns that so many of us have about social media.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal launched its Facebook Files series expose how the social media giant spreads misinformation and objectionable content while refusing to address issues with its algorithm.

In short, Facebook, which owns Instagram, knows the real harm the platform causes to teenagers especially around depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

And that’s far from the only reckless behavior exposed by the series. The reports document the ways Facebook exempted powerful users from basic rules regarding hate speech and revenge porn; tweaked its algorithm to reward “misinformation, toxicity, and violent content”; enabled horrifying crimes related to human trafficking and drug cartels; and allowed false claims about vaccines to swamp public health efforts.

The series is possible because of a courageous individual who, with the support of Whistleblower Aid, made lawful disclosures to the SEC and Congress detailing how the social media giant continually flouts basic safety standards in favor of increasing user engagement and the continued spread of misinformation.

Because of the series, Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn launched a probe into Facebook’s private research on the adverse effects of social media platforms on teen mental health. It’s an important step in holding Facebook accountable and protecting citizens from corporate disregard for safety and wellbeing. We expect more coverage in the coming weeks.

Driving meaningful change requires supporting the brave whistleblowers who come forward to hold those in power accountable.

Matt Dorf
President & Founder, West End Strategy Team


Chicago Mayor Handcuffs Police to Vaccines or Be Fired

Dear Editor:

Embattled mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, shared on her website that she dedicated her career “…to ensuring our police department is accountable to our communities.”

One can’t help but wonder if any people in Chicago are dedicating their careers to ensuring that Lori Lightfoot and other Chicago politicians are held accountable to the communities.

Police officers represent some of the most trained professionals in society yet receive daily scorn and scapegoating for problems created by others. Elected officials who fantasized about wielding power while in the teacher’s lounge remain a greater threat to the safety and security of a city, state, or nation than the easy target of front-line responders.

In the case of the Chicago mayor, her promises to reduce gun violence helped propel her to office in 2019. How’s that working for Chicago?

During the first weekend in August of 2021, 73 people were shot and 10 of them died.

Instead of dedicating her career to keeping the police department accountable, Chicago might have been better served if Lori Lightfoot dedicated her career to reducing crime and keeping criminals accountable.

It’s easy to demonize the police when their actions, however unpleasant, are required to clean up a mess they didn’t make. The media loves to lead with stories filled with drama and bad news, but rarely investigate the back story of what led to the incident.

When a tray filled with dishes crashes to the floor in a busy restaurant, the server or busser gets the stares. Was the floor slippery? Were they tripped? Did the owners demand a speed and productivity of employees while simultaneously placing tables so close together that navigating them proved a nightmare?

“It’s the cops’ fault” leaps from the lips of pundits, politicians, and perpetrators who often in unison decry the police. Yet is there no other cause for the brash crimes, assaults, and flagrant disregard for laws that fills our major cities?

An old saying in the South states, “You’ve gotta slice baloney mighty thin not to get two sides.”

Michael Letts


The Arizona Audit Report

Dear Editor:

The Fake News is lying about the Arizona audit report! The leaked report conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times over. The number includes 23,344 mail-in ballots, despite the person no longer living at that address. Phantom voters! The official canvass does not even match who voted, off by 11,592—more than the entire Presidential Election margin. Voters who voted in multiple counties totaled 10,342, and 2,382 ballots came from people who no longer lived in Maricopa County. There were also 2,592 “more duplicate ballots than original ballots.” Just those fraudulent ballots alone total 50,252, and is fraud many more times than the so-called margin of “victory,” which was only 10,457. In addition, election data appears to have been intentionally deleted, and ballot images were “corrupt or missing.” This is not even the whole state of Arizona, but only Maricopa County. It would only get worse!

There is fraud and cheating in Arizona and it must be criminally investigated! More is coming out in the hearing today.

Donald J Trump – 45th President of the United States of America


UNGA Attendees & Climate Change

Dear Editor:

Those attending the United Nations General Assembly could lead by example, when it comes to Global Warming and Climate Change. Hundreds of heads of state, ambassadors, military attaches and security personnel can give up limousines taking them to and from their embassy, hotel or residency to the UN. These motorcades contribute to traffic gridlock and increase air pollution. Join several million New Yorkers by riding the subway or bus. Enjoy some fresh air and walk several blocks from any nearby subway or bus stop. Mingle with ordinary citizens to develop a better understanding of America and its people.

Larry Penner

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