interactive democracy?
the www and campaign '96
April 11, 1996


Some media theorists conceive the internet as a new "public sphere" where political debates occur and opinions are formed beyond the control of both government and the traditional press. And some politicians anticipate "electronic town halls" enabling direct dialogue between the people and their leaders. How do these idealized visions match up with reality? This forum will examine some of the ways in which the Internet and the WWW are being exploited in the current presidential election campaign. Using equipment that will allow him to log on to the Internet live during his talk, Professor Jenkins will discuss the range of political material available to on-line citizens and will examine a series of Web sites constructed by and about the presidential candidates. Henry Jenkins is the Director of Film and Media Studies at MIT. This fall he will teach a new course on the role of the media in presidential politics.


John C. Mallery
Mark Bonchek
Harvard University
Henry Jenkins
Moderator: David Thorburn
Professor of Literature, MIT