PEJ New Media Index: Once Again, Interrogation and Torture Drive the Online Debate

  • May 21, 2009

The polarizing issue of what defines torture dominated social media last week, marking the third time since the beginning of April that the subject has been among the top-two weekly stories in the blogosphere. From May 11-15, almost a quarter of the links (23%) on blogs and social media sites related to the  debate over harsh interrogation techniques, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The commentary online spread across two main areas of debate: Whether harsh interrogation techniques help keep the country safe, as former Vice President Dick Cheney has repeatedly suggested in a series of media interviews, and whether President Obama should release photographs of reported abuse of prisoners.

In the latter case, Obama experienced somewhat rare criticism from left-leaning bloggers who were disappointed with his decision to not release photographs involving U.S. soldiers and their prisoners.

Beyond the issue of torture, last week's most discussed topics online were a diverse mix ranging from remarks by a Saudi judge to the White House Correspondents' Dinner to health care reform.

Read the full report Once Again, Interrogation and Torture Drive the Online Debate on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.