Comment Forum Speech as a Mirror of Mainstream Discourse

Karen S. Hoffman

in Controlling the Message

Published by NYU Press

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9781479886357
Published online September 2016 | e-ISBN: 9781479865505
Comment Forum Speech as a Mirror of Mainstream Discourse

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This chapter compares the discourse of online comment forums to mainstream media discourse to determine whether the rhetoric employed by political elites is substantially different from that produced by the masses. It first situates democratic speech in the realm of political discourse and highlights some of the problems and criticisms raised by online comment forums. It then analyzes the content of comment forums during the 2012 presidential election, with particular emphasis on support for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as well as the type of speech used to talk about the election. It also discusses mainstream media coverage of the election and its similarities to the speech found in comment forums. It shows that comment forum discourse mirrors that of mainstream elite discourse, noting that the difference lies less in what is said than in the status of who is saying it.

Keywords: online forums; mainstream media; political elites; democratic speech; political discourse; presidential election; Barack Obama; Mitt Romney; comment forum

Chapter.  9696 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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