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Legitimacy Disputes and Social Amplification of Perceived Risk
Unformatted Document Text:  Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions     16   worries and fear with regard to the US beef and MCD. Ten days after the deal was made, the MBC PD Notebook aired the first of investigative reports on human MCD (April 29 th ). This episode brought about huge controversy as well as public fear about the MCD in relation to US beef. When the government-released information and opinions regarding the risk of US beef in relation to MCD were conflicting with MBC PD Notebook’s claims, the publics started to question the credibility of government’s announcements. In this reason, 56.9% of blog posts in this period question the cognitive legitimacy of government. In the same period, online publics also raised issues related to pragmatic legitimacy such as democratic procedure and government’s not caring citizens’ safety and interests. About 43 percent of blog posts in this first period addressed the issues that could fall into the pragmatic legitimacy. During this time period, bloggers were criticizing the procedural transparency and haphazardness of making the decision of repealing the ban. For example, featuring the picture taken at the Camp David, a blogger with pen name Soyoyoo scorned at President Lee’s one-night stay saying, “In order to get this picture, our country now decided to import U.S. Beef without any condition. As a result of this contract, our country can’t ban the import even if mad cow disease were found” (Soyoyoo, April 20, 2008). Another blogger in his blog entry claimed, “President Lee even doesn’t know what 8 th grade learns: The sovereign power is always with the people of country, and government decision-making must conform to the majority people’s opinions” (Mythian, May 2, 2008). Period 2: Transferring information about the risk. In response to this elated public fear and concern, the South Korean government held its first official press

Authors: Lim, Joon Soo., Mun, Kwansik. and Yang, Sung-Un.
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Legitimacy & Social Amplification of Risk Perceptions   
 
 
16  
worries and fear with regard to the US beef and MCD. Ten days after the deal was made, 
the MBC PD Notebook aired the first of investigative reports on human MCD (April 
29
th
). This episode brought about huge controversy as well as public fear about the MCD 
in relation to US beef. When the government-released information and opinions 
regarding the risk of US beef in relation to MCD were conflicting with MBC PD 
Notebook’s claims, the publics started to question the credibility of government’s 
announcements. In this reason, 56.9% of blog posts in this period question the cognitive 
legitimacy of government. In the same period, online publics also raised issues related to 
pragmatic legitimacy such as democratic procedure and government’s not caring citizens’ 
safety and interests. About 43 percent of blog posts in this first period addressed the 
issues that could fall into the pragmatic legitimacy. 
During this time period, bloggers were criticizing the procedural transparency and 
haphazardness of making the decision of repealing the ban. For example,  
featuring the picture taken at the Camp David, a blogger with pen name Soyoyoo scorned 
at President Lee’s one-night stay saying, “In order to get this picture, our country now 
decided to import U.S. Beef without any condition. As a result of this contract, our 
country can’t ban the import even if mad cow disease were found” (Soyoyoo, April 20, 
2008).  Another blogger in his blog entry claimed, “President Lee even doesn’t know 
what 8
th
 grade learns: The sovereign power is always with the people of country, and 
government decision-making must conform to the majority people’s opinions” (Mythian, 
May 2, 2008).  
Period 2: Transferring information about the risk. In response to this elated 
public fear and concern, the South Korean government held its first official press 


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