Parallel public spheres: distance and discourse in letters to the editor.
This article examines letters to the editor as one of the ways citizens seek to enact a public sphere using technological mediation. Using a sample of all letters received by a metropolitan newspaper during a three-month period (N = 1,113), the authors demonstrate that the tone and argumentative styles of letters differ with the scope of the issues the letters address. Local issues evoke more reasoned, conciliatory tones, while issues beyond the local context evoke more emotional, confrontational tones, even after controlling for individual writers' characteristics and anger as a motivation to write.
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