Report

PEJ New Media Index: On Blogs, Hot Dogs Become the Health Care Debate

  • March 04, 2010

A warning about the potential health hazards of children chewing hot dogs triggered an impassioned backlash and registered as the top subject among bloggers last week.

From February 22-26, one-fifth (20%) of the week's links in the blogosphere were in response to a group of pediatricians who called for a choke-proof hot dog, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Most bloggers felt doctors were intervening in an area of responsibility reserved for parents.

Last week's online hot dog discussion illustrated a sharp divide between social and mainstream media. The traditional press focused on the politics of  health care reform-driven by President Obama's February 25 summit; The blogosphere used a very practical health matter to have a philosophical debate about risk and regulation.

Indeed, the legislative battle over health care reform was not among the roster of top social media stories last week. And the hot dog warning did not register in the News Coverage Index measuring mainstream media interest last week.

Read the full report On Blogs, Hot Dogs Become the Health Care Debate on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.