New Media Index: Bloggers Debate Global Warming and Scientific Ethics

Mar 01, 2012

Over the past three years, global warming has consistently proven to be one of the most debated and divisive subjects in the blogosphere. And last week, a new development in the conflict created another firestorm.

Peter Gleick, a well-known scientist and advocate for the existence of climate change, admitted he used a false identity to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that questions the existence of global warming. What ensued was a passionate and often angry conversation about the science of global warming, ethics, and the motives of those on both sides of the debate. While many bloggers weighed in, voices of climate change skeptics were more numerous.

For the week of February 20-24, the controversy involving Gleick, labeled by some as "FakeGate," was the top news story on blogs, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. Since PEJ began tracking social media in 2009, there have been 14 weeks when global warming has been among the top five most discussed subjects among bloggers. And in most of those instances-as was the case last week-skeptics filled a larger segment of the conversation than defenders of the science.

Read the full report, Bloggers Debate Global Warming and Scientific Ethics, on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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