PEJ New Media Index: Social Media Join the Anti-TSA Movement

  • December 02, 2010

Anger and frustration over the new TSA airport security measures boiled over in the social media last week. And while much of the mainstream press reported or commented on that rage, those in the online community embodied those sentiments.

And, in a rare case of news agenda unity, heavy interest in the new measures cut across all three social media platforms studied in the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. For the week of November 22-26, more than half (54%) the news links on blogs were about the security measures, making it the No. 1 subject.

They were also the fourth largest topic on Twitter with 9% of the links. And on YouTube, the new procedures were the subject of the second most popular news video as viewers gravitated to an element of comedic relief produced by a Taiwanese company.

Twitterers mainly drew attention to one specific incident concerning a cancer survivor whose urostomy bag ruptured during a TSA pat-down. Links to the story were often accompanied by words of empathy like Emi Lani Lee's, "Feel bad for him," and Billy Shih's, "I'm getting real tired of the TSA." 

In the arena with the most discussion, the majority of bloggers emphatically agreed with-and even went beyond-two Washington Post columnists, Charles Krauthammer and George Will, who came out strongly against the airport security measures. 

Read the full report Social Media Join the Anti-TSA Movement on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.