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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

Clone letters

Posted Wednesday, September 9, 2009, at 12:39 PM

In the past day or two, we've gotten four identically-worded letters to the editor to our old news-at-t-g.com e-mail address (which we're trying to discourage, in favor of individual staff member e-mails). One was from Franklin, another from Hohenwald, and the last two came from two different people from the same street address in Lascasses.

Plagiarism? No. Incredible coincidence? No. I suspect the culprit is one of these web sites that let you click on a button and send a pre-written letter (endorsing the web site's particular position) to legislators or media outlets. In this case, the letters appear to have originated from a non-profit group trying to influence federal policy related to a particular learning disorder.

Please, no matter what your politics, understand that this tactic is not very productive. Our Letters to the Editor column is meant to showcase the original thoughts and opinions of our readers. We want to know what you think, in your words, not what the people at the web site think.

And I have a sneaking suspicion that an original, personal letter -- even if it's not eloquent or long -- carries a lot more weight with your legislators than a canned letter (or a signature on a petition) would.

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"Our Letters to the Editor column is meant to showcase the original thoughts and opinions of our readers."

what percentage of your readers do you suppose actually have original thoughts and opinions?

-- Posted by lazarus on Fri, Sep 11, 2009, at 4:31 PM

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John I. Carney
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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