Political Extremism and the Internet

Powerful Essays
John K.
Dr. Erin S.
Honors English 118
3 December 2012
Political Extremism and the Internet
David Weinberger, a former advisor to Howard Dean, said "Don't think of the Internet as a broadcast medium...think of it as a conversational space. Conversation is the opposite of marketing. It's talking in our own voices about things we want to hear about." This mentality towards the purpose of the internet is becoming more and more common. It is seen by politicians and political advisors as an instrument to capture the attention of a particular segment of the public. Being able to reach voters on such a wide scale has had an astounding effect on politics in this country. The internet has allowed political extremism to flourish in the past decade. Those on the left side of the ideological spectrum as well as those on the right are able to access sites that share similar views, while simultaneously having the ability to block out opposing views. The impact that this has on the outcome of elections is something that simply cannot be ignored. The web is now one of the most effective tools in campaign arsenals. Those who do not use the internet for political reasons have also started to realize the ramifications that the internet can have on political extremism as well as politics in general. The increase in overall internet usage is leading to a rise in political extremism and is having a profound effect on the political discourse in America.
Voters tend to have somewhat conflicting views on the use of the internet for political purposes. Most believe that the internet has the ability to present several different views on a particular issue, yet others believe it is hard to sort through all of the different sources (Smith). Some see it as a hindrance to the political process because of the way that inaccurate information seems to circulate freely (Smith). However, most people would agree that it is up to each individual reader to make the determination as to what

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