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The knowledge gap perspective was and still is a fruitful extension of the classic diffusion of information paradigm insofar as it poses the question of (un)equal distribution of communication and knowledge in democratic societies as a prerequisite of decision making by analyzing the complex (dys)functions of classic and modern media, like the Internet, in this process.

Evidence of learning processes and knowledge gain from news media use is found repeatedly in a vast number of survey studies. As a consequence, modern media effects research no longer considers the most important media function the influence on opinions and attitudes but, instead, the transfer of information and knowledge acquisition by media users. But empirical studies of public affairs media coverage, political debates, or elections demonstrate regularly that citizens ...

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