The Elephant Will Kick the Donkey: An Attitudinal Analysis of Online Comments on the GOP Letter to the Iranian Supreme Leader

Document Type : Research Article


1 ShahidChamran University of Ahvaz

2 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz


With the growth in sociality and interaction around touching national and international topics, news sites are increasingly becoming places for communities to discuss and address issues spurred by news articles. Proponents of cyberspace promise that online discourse will increase political participation and pave the road for a democratic utopia (Papacharissi, 2004). Comment writers, according to Nagar (2011), essentially represent a well informed community that is highly involved in the political process (p.23). On March 9, 2015 Republican Senators (GOP) wrote a letter to the leaders of Iran telling them that they would not honor the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) after Obama leaves office. This study explored the on-line comments put by Americans dealing with the GOP letter to provide space for that sort of public attitude. This attitude was analyzed through two different perspectives; on one side,it focused on the ways in which participants utilized the markers ofAppraisal to interact directly with on-line readers and express their attitude towards the GOP letter. On the other side, the attitude toward the letter was coded as either "agree" for comments showing support; "disagree" for comments showing disagreement with the letter in terms of denouncing it or condemning it; or "neither agree nor disagree" for comments neither rejected nor supported the GOP letter.