While reading Gilles Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control, McKenzie Wark's The Weird Global Media Event and the Tactical Intellectual, and the introduction to Alexander Galloway's Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization, an analytical framework emerged that can be used to explore and define the realm of and relationship between mainstream and alternative internet media sources.
The placement of the internet within societal constructs is related to its function; much how Deleuze describes societal spheres as 'environments of enclosure,' media sources on the internet can be thought of in the same way:
"Foucalt has brilliantly analyzed the ideal project of these environments of enclosure, particularly visible within the factory: to concentrate; to distribute in space; to order in time; to compose a productive force within the dimension of space-time whose effect will be greater than the sum of its component forces." (Deleuze, p. 2)
Internet media sources certainly serve as spaces for concentration of information, a network of points of distribution of information, and a means to achieve placement in time. Online media sources are inextricably linked to time; the very fact that every post, email, instant message is time-stamped to the second is a good example. However, one can use this 'environment of enclosure' framework to break down internet media even further:
"One way of disentangling this practice of the tactical intellectual from oppositional or alternative media strategies is to see it as being a kind of micro-event in itself. The media tactician presents an image that endangers the conventions of journalistic narrative time, yet which is capable of inserting itself into it. This kind of tactical media ironically displaces the boundaries drawn by the machine of the news story." (Wark, p. 276)
Thus a gap between 'environments of enclosure' within online media sources is apparent, typified by the friction concurrent in the relationship between mainstream and alternative. The alternative serves to challenge the mainstream, and vice-versa. While they are independently operated, they interact in an undeniable fashion, just barely across the line from symbiosis:
"Distributed networks are naieve to Deleuze's control societies. Each point in a distributed network is neither a central hup nor a satellite node- there are niether trunks nor leaves. The network contains nothing but "intelligent end-point systems that are self-deterministic, allowing each end-point system to communicate with any host it chooses." (Galloway, p. 12)
Analyzing internet news sources with this framework in mind provides much clarity and structure to an often chaotic-seeming space.