New Mediated Deliberation: Blog and Press Coverage of the Alito Nomination



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 13, Issue 4, 1019, Article first published online: July 2008


This study explores the implications of political weblogs for theories of mediated public deliberation. Guided by contemporary questions surrounding the internet and the public sphere, we examine blog and newspaper coverage of the nomination and confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court of Samuel Alito with an eye toward further development of theories of mass deliberation. Specifically, we pursue questions concerning volume of coverage, ideological polarization, and interactive features in the blogosphere, using newspaper coverage as a point of reference. Data come from content analyses of newspaper stories mentioning Alito in the headline or lead paragraphs from the initial nomination announcement through final confirmation, as well as archival impressions of blog posts featuring hyperlinks to the newspaper stories. Our analysis suggests that blogs may enhance as well as complicate processes of mediated deliberation. We conclude by discussing empirical and conceptual implications of these findings for future research on the role of blogs in the contemporary public sphere.