PEJ New Media Index: An Obama Quote Stokes the Blogosphere

  • September 30, 2010

A new book by Bob Woodward examining the Obama Administration's internal debate over the Afghanistan war triggered a torrent of criticism of the president by conservative bloggers last week.

From September 20-24, more than one-third (35%) of the news links on blogs were about Woodward's book, Obama's Wars, making it the week's No. 1 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

In his book, Woodward—a Washington Post associate editor and half of the famous reporting duo that unraveled the Watergate cover-up—depicted significant divisions and debates within the administration as Obama tried to formulate a strategy in Afghanistan. He ultimately decided to send 30,000 more troops to the country.

But the bloggers who dominated the conversation last week focused largely on one quote from Obama printed in a Washington Post article on the book: “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever…we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

In a series of critical and often angry posts, many bloggers seized on that passage to argue that the president is indifferent to whether America is attacked by terrorists again. It was somewhat similar to criticism of Obama voiced by such well-known Republican figures as Liz Cheney, the former Vice President's daughter, and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Read the full report, An Obama Quote Stokes the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.