As many have already recognized, the Internet is a medium unlike any other that came before it. It has dramatically changed the nature of public discourse by allowing more and diverse people to engage in public debate.
Unlike just a short number of years ago, when many citizens were “barred from meaningful participation in public discourse by financial or status inequalities” and a relatively small number of powerful speakers could “dominate the marketplace of ideas,”[FOOTNOTE 1] the Internet now allows anyone with a phone or cable line, or access to a wireless connection, to become “a town crier with a voice that resonates farther than it could from any soapbox.”[FOOTNOTE 2] Through the Internet, speakers can bypass mainstream media; indeed, speakers on Internet chat rooms and blogs can speak directly to other people with similar interests.
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