Report

PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Focus on Obama's Opposition

  • September 24, 2009

From public protests to race to health care, domestic issues dominated the commentary from bloggers last week. Combined, the three topics made up almost half (46%) of the links the week of September 14-18,  according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

It was not a discussion of the issues themselves, however, but a debate about the motives and extent of the President's opposition that drove the conversation online. That debate was triggered by a remark about race and politics, a large protest in Washington D.C. and a censure of a Congressman who heckled Obama. The events and ensuing commentary rolled out sequentially during the course of the week.

First, on Monday, came the response to the Tea Party protests held in Washington, D.C. over the weekend. Many bloggers voiced sympathy with the protestors and accused much of the media of downplaying a major event. While they had largely moved on to other matters after Monday, the subject still ranked third for the week, receiving 13% of the links.

On Tuesday it was a health care story about recent poll numbers that drove bloggers' assessments of Obama's political fortunes. A second story about Congressional action taken against Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his outburst during the President's September 9 speech on health care triggered additional discussion on Thursday. Together the two health care stories ranked fifth for the week at 5%.

On Wednesday, the biggest topic of the week emerged, garnering 28% of the links. It was the reaction to statements by former President Jimmy Carter that racism played a role in some of the opposition toward Obama. Much of the online commentary took Carter to task for those sentiments.

Read the full report Bloggers Focus on Obama's Opposition on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.