The subject of politics on the Net might bring to mind only endless diatribes in newsgroups and a few key Web sites during elections. As Wayne Rash points out, there's much more. All sorts of political and lobbying groups, from the major parties to single-issue advocacy organizations are using the Net to plead their cause. Rash compares the role the Net played in the 1996 U.S. presidential election to the role of television in 1960. He explores how political groups use the Net, asking if it gives them an edge. He also addresses nontraditional, radical, and splinter groups, noting that the same medium that enables proponents of small mainstream issues to have a voice also magnifies the outreach of hate groups.
Technology journalist Rash covers cyber developments for several computer, business, and mainstream publications. Here he examines the present and potential future role of the Internet in traditional and nontraditional politics, from the increasingly sophisticated use of Web sites in 1996 by the Republican and Democratic parties and some of their candidates to online linkups of issue-oriented groups on both the Left and the Right. A useful chapter notes the multiple functions the Internet can perform in political groups' interaction with the media, and Rash closes with an analysis of the rapid growth and likely future trends in the Net's political sites. Likely to appeal more to readers curious about what others are doing than to Net activists: although Rash discusses
political Web sites, newsgroups, and mailing lists, he provides addresses for only a few. More of a "why to" than a "how to." Mary Carroll