Toward a Theory of Citizen Interface with Political Discussion and News in the Contemporary Public Sphere
The Internet, with its vast and often revolutionary array of politically relevant discursive spaces—news sites and forums of political discussion—has stimulated renewed interest in traditional debates surrounding both the structural arrangements of news and political discussion, and their impact on citizens. As suggested by the “classic public sphere,” deliberative democracy must have a strong structural/institutional foundation. One sign of strength involves access. Another sign of strength involves the extent to which news and political discussion are meaningfully connected in time and space, allowing people to traverse with relative ease from one to the other. This article is directed toward examining the impact of Internet use on the accessibility and “traversability” of the contemporary public sphere.