At least according to Howard Rheingold. Rheingold relates Habemas’ refusal, or inability, to answer a question on “what he thought of the future and health of the public sphere, now that the broadcast era he wrote about has been supplanted by an infosphere in which so many people use the infosphere to express political opinion.” Howard concludes:
I think he has invalidated himself. Abstruse philosophical and obscure academic feuds are more important than the future of democracy? He proved to me by his actions that philosophy is rendering itself irrelevant. He was the last bastion for those who feel that philosophy speaks to the real problems of the modern world.
Rheingold points to an earlier Habermas speech.
Habermas — a man whose theory of communicative action places high priority on precision of communication — describes Internet discourse as “a series of chat rooms,” which is a telltale that he doesn’t understand the phenomenon he is describing…What I wish Habermas had said, since he clearly does not understand a phenomenon that is central to the applicability of his theory in the 21st century, is “I leave that work to younger scholars, who can build contemporary theories on the foundations of my earlier work about the role of the public sphere in an infosphere dominated by mass media.” …. unless we know, and know soon, whether or not the web as it is developing can revitalize the public sphere, all other philosophical conversations may be mooted by the rise of disinfotainment, disinformocracy, and the actual emergence of the simulation that we don’t recognize as a simulation described by Baudrillard.