PEJ New Media Index: Anger over AIG Dominates the Online Conversation

  • March 27, 2009

While the news agenda of bloggers often differs from that of the traditional press, there was no such divide last week when it came to $165 million in bonuses paid by insurance giant AIG.   

Outrage over AIG-which has received about $180 billion in bailout funds-dwarfed all other subjects in the social media last week, just as it did in the mainstream press. And as was the case with reaction in the traditional media, the vast majority of online commentators expressed anger over the bonuses while a small minority voiced support.

That discussion made the economic crisis overwhelmingly the top subject for bloggers, accounting for 65% of the most linked-to stories by blogs and social media sites from March 16-20, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The dominance of the economic crisis was even greater here than in the traditional media last week (53% of the newshole) and generated the highest level of attention for any story  in the New Media Index since PEJ started tracking online discussions two months ago. Links about the economy last week edged out President Obama's inauguration, which made up 63% of the links from January 19-23.

The next three largest topics online were a mix of policy and politics. The subject areas ranged from health care to Internet use to conservative culture wars, but all drew on the New York Times or Washington Post as their source.

Read the full report Anger over AIG Dominates the Online Conversation on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.