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Abstract

This case study examines how traditional and Internet news use, as well as face-to-face and online political discussion, contributed to political participation during the period leading up to the Iraq War. A Web-based survey of political dissenters (N = 307) conducted at the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq provides the data used to examine the relationships among informational media use, online and face-to-face political discussion, and political participation among the respondents, who were recruited through blogs, discussion boards, and listservs opposing the Iraq war. Analyses reveal that among these respondents, Internet news use contributed to both face-to-face and online discussion about the situation in Iraq. Online and face-to-face political discussion mediated certain news media effects on anti-war political participation. The study stresses the complementary role of Web news use and online political discussion relative to traditional modes of political communication in spurring political participation.