PEJ New Media Index: Heated Health Care Battle Explodes in the Blogosphere

PEJ New Media Index: Heated Health Care Battle Explodes in the Blogosphere

The angry partisan wrangling that permeated mainstream media coverage of the health care debate also raged in the blogosphere last week as the issue dominated the online conversation.

Supporters and opponents of President Obama's health care reform goals faced off online, with each side accusing the other of being dishonest and manipulating facts. Liberal bloggers charged that conservatives were spreading fear and falsehoods to weaken support for health care reform while conservatives asserted that liberals were hiding their real goals and were only interested in promoting a government-dominated system.

Polarizing commentary is often a part of social media's attention to current news events. Over the past few months, other hot-button political issues that have led to intense  partisan arguments include the debate over torture, Obama's economic stimulus package, and the resignation of Sarah Palin as Governor of Alaska.

For the week of August 10-14, almost one quarter (23%) of the top news-related links were to stories about health care according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. This is the first time health care has been the top subject since PEJ began tracking the blogosphere in mid-January. The previous high water mark was from July 27-31 when health care was the fourth-largest story with 9% of the week's links.

The other top stories in the blogosphere last week were an eclectic mix. The second largest topic, which garnered a great deal of attention at 18% of the links, was a BBC story about the discovery of a large meat-eating plant discovered in the highlands of the central Philippines. The species of plant, large enough to digest rats, was first encountered by missionaries in 2000, but was given the name Nepenthes attenboroughii by botanists earlier this year after the British natural history broadcaster David Attenborough.

Read the full report Heated Health Care Battle Explodes in the Blogosphere on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

National Homeownership Month

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.