Fragmentation and Polarization of the Audience

David Tewksbury and Jason Rittenberg

in News on the Internet

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780195391961
Published online January 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190252397 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

Fragmentation and Polarization of the Audience

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  • Comparative Politics
  • US Politics


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This chapter looks at how consumption of news online gives rise to audience fragmentation and polarization. It considers the conditions under which audience fragmentation and polarization may occur or operate. It also reviews the research literature to find evidence for the fragmentation and polarization of online news audiences in contemporary democracies. More specifically, it examines whether people base their news exposure—and thus their knowledge and opinion—on factors such as political beliefs. The chapter also discusses types of audience fragmentation and polarization, the causes of fragmentation and polarization, and exposure fragmentation and polarization on the Internet and compares those with those in the traditional or offline media. Finally, it analyzes fragmentation of public affairs knowledge and of the public agenda.

Keywords: audience fragmentation; audience polarization; online news; audiences; democracies; political beliefs; Internet; offline media; public affairs; public agenda

Chapter.  9982 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics ; US Politics

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