PEJ New Media Index: A Swiss Ban and “Climate-gate” Stir Online Discussions

  • December 10, 2009

Two distinct controversies drove the online commentary last week. A decision by voters in Switzerland to ban the building of minarets, distinctive structures associated with Islamic mosques, earned the most attention in the blogosphere. And in the run-up to the climate summit in Copenhagen, global warming skeptics continued to dominate the blogosphere debate. Last week, that subject also gained major traction on Twitter.

From November 30-December 4, 17% of the links in blogs were about the Swiss referendum, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. While a few commentators applauded the vote as a stand against radical Islam, most expressed disappointment that the country would support a move they perceived as intolerant and divisive.

Registering right behind the minarets controversy, at 16% of the news links, was global warming-a topic that recently has received considerably more attention in social media than in the mainstream press. Among blogs, this is the fourth week in the past two months when global warming has been among the top four subjects.

Read the full report A Swiss Ban and “Climate-gate” Stir Online Discussions on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.