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Letters to the Editor and Newspaper Blogs as Reflections of Public Opinion: A Confederate Flag Flap in South Carolina

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The fit between letters to the editor and public opinion has been unsettled among researchers. Newspaper blogs extend editorial comment, including attempted agenda setting, and reader response onto the web. In this case study we examine and compare the mix of opinion on the issue of the Confederate Flag in South Carolina in letters to the editor and in a newspaper blog. We suggest that existing theory on heuristics and source cues helps explain our finding that the balance of citizen comments changed dramatically relative to public opinion after the state 's most famous football coach called for the Flag's removal.

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