The nation's new digital divide

Author: John Rash
Coverage Type: analysis
Minneapolis, MN, United States

[Commentary] The 'digital divide' seems wider than ever.

No, not the differences in Internet access caused by income inequality. Great strides have been made bridging that gap ever since the issue was dramatized by a photo-op of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore wiring a California high school to make sure its lower-income students had equal Web access. No, today's yawning digital divide is between left and right, liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. That ideological gap -- a gulf, really -- separates the Netroots Nation and RightOnline confabs taking place in Minneapolis this weekend, almost within earshot of each other. This divide's impact is profound -- for digital media, sure, but just as much for politics, and thus for citizens, at a time when the state and the nation face enormous problems that polarization aggravates. Even media scholars and experts wonder whether digital media mirrors, or causes, these divisions.


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