Fake opinion in The Aspen Times | AspenTimes.com

Fake opinion in The Aspen Times

Fake opinion in The Aspen Times

We all think we know what fake news is. It used to be called propaganda before it started appearing on the front pages of once-reputable newspapers.

But how can there be fake opinion? In his letter “Russia-Trump connection is just a mirage” (Commentary, Aspen Times, July 24), Aspen resident Carl Heck shows us the way.

With deft irony and 14 column-inches worth of “evidence” — circumstantial and tangential as much of it may be — Heck marshals his case against Trump with the relentlessness of a seasoned prosecutor and the biting wit and stylistic elegance of a Swift, Voltaire, or Twain. It’s an impressive piece of writing.

The problem is that Carl Heck didn’t write it. A Google search of any portion of his letter reveals that it’s been bouncing around the internet for months. It’s someone else’s prose — someone else’s thought, wit, words, and total personality. Like Dracula, Heck has sucked out somebody else’s soul and spit out the husk. “His” letter is an imposter, a fake, an “undead.”

As for the copy editor who ushered this into print, I can only assume that he or she hasn’t been around very long. All the rest of know that Heck has been bombarding both newspapers for years with anti-Republican drive-by hit-jobs that seldom exceed one or two not-very-artful sentences in length. And now, suddenly, he emerges as a master of letters, whose polished voluminous prose flows off his pen (well, keyboard) like bursts of gunfire from a semi-automatic weapon? We must still be in the age of miracles.

But, of course, the Times staff shouldn’t have to play the role of Plagiarism Cop, ever vigilant for the kind of dishonesty that is found here. No, the responsibility lies with Mr. Heck, who has embarrassed a trusting staff and who owes the paper an apology.

Chad Klinger


Editor’s note: The Aspen Times, in response to Klinger’s letter, independently verified that Heck did lift the majority of his letter’s content from another source. The letter has since been removed from The Aspen Times website.

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