Report

PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Blast an Iran War Scenario

  • November 11, 2010

Amidst mainstream press headlines of an angry and divided electorate, the blogosphere last week suggested there is at least one thing people across the political spectrum agree on: Going to war with Iran to boost the U.S. economy is a troubling idea.

During the week of November 1-5, bloggers across the board roundly rejected that kind of strategy. The idea came in an October 31 column by David Broder and attracted more than a third (35%) of the news links on blogs that week, making it the No. 1 subject according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

In the piece headlined “The War Recovery,” Broder—a longtime Washington observer with generally moderate views—wrote about ways that President Obama could bounce back from a difficult 2010 election to win a second term. Although Broder wrote he “was not suggesting that the president incite a war to get re-elected,” he also declared that if Obama spends the next two years “orchestrating a showdown with the [Iranian] mullahs…this will help him politically” and the “economy will improve.”

Online criticism of Broder's piece produced a kind of blogosphere bi-partisanship and unanimity rarely seen on crucial political and policy issues. Some argued that the idea of starting a war for political or economic reasons was immoral. Others offered that if additional government spending would help the economy, the spending could be on things like infrastructure rather than military conflict

The second-biggest subject on blogs last week, with 17% of the links, was the November 2 elections and the political consequences for Obama, the overwhelmingly No. 1 story in the mainstream media. While much of the traditional press coverage focused on Washington's changed political landscape in the wake of major Republican gains, the bloggers' conversation focused more narrowly on columns that criticized Obama's performance.

Read the full report, Bloggers Blast an Iran War Scenario on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.