PEJ New Media Index: Bloggers Take Sides in the Wisconsin Standoff

Mar 03, 2011

For the second straight week, social and mainstream media shared similar news agendas as the labor stalemate in Wisconsin and the violent unrest in Libya garnered the most attention in both sectors. But while the traditional press focused more on the events in the Middle East, bloggers spent more time debating the standoff in Wisconsin between unions and the governor over his effort to curtail collective bargaining rights.

From Feb. 21-25, one quarter (25%) of the news links on blogs were about the political turmoil in Wisconsin, 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 mainstream press, the economy, dominated by the Wisconsin situation, was the second-biggest subject, filling 24% of the newshole.

On blogs, a passionate debate raged that was clearly split along ideological lines. Conservatives applauded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for standing up to unions, which they viewed as special interest groups with too much political clout. Liberals derided Walker for the same actions, while defending unions as an important force in strengthening the middle class. Both sides had significant representation in the online discussion.

Read the full report Bloggers Take Sides in the Wisconsin Standoff on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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