Study suggests web is free-range

Americans who spend a lot of time on Fox news are also more likely than most to visit the New York Times, suggests a new study by two business professors in Chicago. Their findings counter the received wisdom that the Internet creates citizens isolated in silos, reading only news they choose. “We find no evidence that the Internet is becoming more segregated over time,” Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro concluded. (Subscription or payment required to read in full.)

Or, as David Brooks wrote in the New York Times, “This study suggests that Internet users are a bunch of ideological Jack Kerouacs. They’re not burrowing down into comforting nests. They’re cruising far and wide looking for adventure, information, combat and arousal … If this study is correct, the Internet will not produce a cocooned public square, but a free-wheeling multilayered Mad Max public square. The study also suggests that if there is increased polarization (and there is), it’s probably not the Internet that’s causing it.”