Mediated political communication, the Internet, and the new knowledge elites: prospects and portents1A paper presented to the International Conference on Media and Politics, Brussels, Belgium, 27 February1 March 1997.1 Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper argues that the phenomenal growth of the Internet requires a re-thinking of our assumptions about both the nature of political communication and the role of elites in the political process. We suggest that the Internet functions in a paradoxical manner. On the one hand, the Internet provides important opportunities for interactions between candidates and voters as well as new arenas for voter-to-voter discussion and interaction. On the other hand, the volume of political information available on the Internet, as well as the continued growth of other forms of mediated political communications, suggest that voters may be over-whelmed by the quantity and dubious quality of information on political candidates and issues. A likely outcome of this situation is the emergence of a new form of "information elite," which challenges the traditional view that elites reflect considerations of power and wealth. We suggest that this elite can have a strong positive effect on democratic processes. We utilize Petty and Cacioppo's Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion as a guide to understanding political communication and voter decision making in contemporary society and the role of the new information elite therein [Petty, R.E., Cacioppo, J.T., 1986. The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In: Berkowitz, L., (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, vol. 19. Academic Press, New York, pp. 123-205]. 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Telematics and Informatics

author list (cited authors)

  • Coombs, W. T., & Cutbirth, C. W.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Coombs, W Timothy||Cutbirth, Craig W

publication date

  • January 1998