The Myth of Digital Democracy

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2009 - Computers - 181 pages
5 Reviews

Is the Internet democratizing American politics? Do political Web sites and blogs mobilize inactive citizens and make the public sphere more inclusive? The Myth of Digital Democracy reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the Internet has done little to broaden political discourse but in fact empowers a small set of elites--some new, but most familiar.

Matthew Hindman argues that, though hundreds of thousands of Americans blog about politics, blogs receive only a miniscule portion of Web traffic, and most blog readership goes to a handful of mainstream, highly educated professionals. He shows how, despite the wealth of independent Web sites, online news audiences are concentrated on the top twenty outlets, and online organizing and fund-raising are dominated by a few powerful interest groups. Hindman tracks nearly three million Web pages, analyzing how their links are structured, how citizens search for political content, and how leading search engines like Google and Yahoo! funnel traffic to popular outlets. He finds that while the Internet has increased some forms of political participation and transformed the way interest groups and candidates organize, mobilize, and raise funds, elites still strongly shape how political material on the Web is presented and accessed.

The Myth of Digital Democracy. debunks popular notions about political discourse in the digital age, revealing how the Internet has neither diminished the audience share of corporate media nor given greater voice to ordinary citizens.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1
4 stars
2
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: The Myth of Digital Democracy

User Review  - Shannon Sickmon - Goodreads

An engaging and thorough analysis of the alleged democratization of politics through the internet. Well researched, even if some of his theories are a bit wonky. Read full review

Review: The Myth of Digital Democracy

User Review  - Shannon S. - Goodreads

An engaging and thorough analysis of the alleged democratization of politics through the internet. Well researched, even if some of his theories are a bit wonky. Read full review

Contents

The Internet and the Democratization of Politics
1
The Lessons of Howard Dean
20
Googlearchy The Link Structure of Political Web Sites
38
Political Traffic and the Politics of Search
58
Online Concentration
82
Blogs The New Elite Media
102
Elite Politics and the Missing Middle
129
On Data and Methodology
143
References
155
Index
173
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Matthew Hindman is assistant professor of political science at Arizona State University.