No More Digital divide.(EDITORIALS)
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A digital divide separating the computer and Internet haves from the have-nots turns out to be more of a gully or small ditch than a Grand Canyon. The political dividers will have to find another gap to exploit.
Survey and related data culled by the Pew Research Center, a team from UCLA and the Commerce Department belies the notion that computers and the Internet have been disproportionately advantageous to a relatively small elite comprised mostly of affluent white Americans with college educations, who live in and around major metropolitan areas. Al Gore and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, did their best to make political hay of this issue during the last presidential election - and likely will try again come 2004. Other Democrats, including Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, continue to issue demands for federal aid and intervention, including funding for the Commerce Department's Technology Opportunity Program, which, along with other federal electronic-age boondoggles, would fritter away more than $110 million annually. Last month, Miss Mikulski, along with the AFL-CIO and the National Education Association, joined up to push for fistfuls of federal funding to erase the divide, even though it appears to be disappearing all by itself.
For example, the Pew study found that although just 23 percent of black Americans had Internet access back in 1998 (compared to 42 percent of whites), by 2000, that had grown to 36 percent. …